Why is wine language always so confusing? You want to increase your vocabulary with wine words? In this brief dictionary, you can find the most important wine terms and their definitions Enjoy!


Acidity — the liveliness and crispness in wine that activates our salivary glands

Aeration — exposing wine to oxygen to improve its flavour (breathing)

Aging — holding wine in barrels, and bottles to advance them to a more desirable state

Alcohol — the product of fermentation of sugars by yeast

Aroma — the smell of wine, especially young wine. It is commonly used for wines with fruity and floral smells, although it can be used for any wine with strong aromatic compounds (different than “bouquet”)

Balance — a term for when the elements of wine – acids, sugars, tannins, and alcohol – come together in a harmonious way with no particular constituent standing out among the others

Bitter — a taste sensation that is sensed on the back of the tongue and caused by tannins

Blend —  a mixture of two or more different wines. It can apply to wines made from different grapes, different regions, or different vineyards

Body — a tactile sensation describing the weight and fullness of wine in the mouth. A wine can be light, medium, or full bodied

Bouquet — The term is used when referring to the smell of an aged wine where the maturing process has brought out things like the aging in wood and subtle smells from the fermentation process. Young wines are not considered to have a bouquet, only an aroma

Bottle age —  The length of time a wine matures after it has been bottled. Most wineries age in the bottle a short time. Consumers may age the wines in bottles longer, particularly for finer wines

Chaptalization — adding sugar to wine before or during fermentation to increase alcohol levels. Chaptalization is illegal in some parts of the world, and highly controlled in others

Closed — term describing underdeveloped and young wines whose flavours are not exhibiting well

Demi-sec — French term meaning “half-dry” used to describe a sweet sparkling wine

Dry —  a taste sensation often attributed to tannins and causing puckering sensations in the mouth

Earthy — an odor or flavour reminiscent of damp soil

Estate —  a place that both grows grapes and produces wines from its own vineyards

Fermentation — the conversion of grape sugars to alcohol by yeast

Finish  — the impression of textures and flavours lingering in the mouth after swallowing wine

Fruity — a tasting term for wines that exhibit strong smells and flavours of fresh fruit

Full-bodied — a wine high in alcohol and flavours, often described as “big”

Length — the amount of time that flavours persist in the mouth after swallowing wine; a lingering sensation

Mature — ready to drink

Mouth-feel — how a wine feels on the palate; it can be rough, smooth, velvety, or furry

New World — wine producing countries outside of Europe

Nose —  a tasting term describing the aromas and bouquets of a wine

Oenology — the science of wine and winemaking

Oxidation — wine exposed to air that has undergone a chemical change

Sommelier — A wine butler; also used to denote a certified wine professional

Palate — the sensation of taste in a taster’s mouth

Primary aromas —  the smells of a wine that come directly from the grapes used to make the wine

Structure — an ambiguous tasting term that implies harmony of fruit, alcohol, acidity, and tannins

Sweet — wines with perceptible sugar contents on the nose and in the mouth

Tannins — the phenolic compounds in wines that leave a bitter, and dry feeling in the mouth. It helps preserve wines during the aging process

Terroir — French for geographical characteristics unique to a given vineyard/ in French, the overall vineyard growing conditions including climate, soil, moisture in the soil, et.c.

Texture — a tasting term describing how wine feels on the palate

Varietal —  wines made totally or predominantly from a single variety of grape

Varietal character —  the characteristics of a wine that come from the grape variety it was made from

Vinification — the process of making wine

Weight — similar to “body”, the sensation when a wine feels thick or rich on the palate

Young — an immature wine that is usually bottled and sold within a year of its vintage. Wines meant to be drunk “young” are noted for their fresh and crisp flavours