Glossary

Glossary of Terms


AOC

Abbreviation for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (controlled area of origin), the traditional term for an official French winemaking region.

AOP
Abbreviation for Appellation d'Origine Protégée (protected area of origin), the European Union term for what the French wine industry traditionally called Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée.

Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
The French term for an officially designated, controlled wine-growing region; often referred to as appellation or AOC; French appellation laws have been the model for similar regulations in other countries. In 2012 French wine regions began the transition to new European Union wine regulations, under which Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée wines are called Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP) wines.

Appellation d'Origine Protégée
The Europe-wide equivalent of the French term Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée; instituted under European Union wine regulations introduced in 2012.

Assemblage
French term for the blending of distinct lots of wine into a final, balanced blend (or cuvée); assemblage plays an important role in Provence rosé making; see also Blending.

Bleeding
Using gravity to prematurely drain pink juice from crushed red grapes in the vat, separating the juice from the solids. The bleeding process is used both in red winemaking (to increase the concentration of the must in the vat) and in rosé making (to obtain the pink juice needed for fermentation).

Blending
The art of bringing together different lots of wines to achieve a harmonious final cuvée; essentially the same as Assemblage.

Blush
A category of wine created in California and characterized by its pink color and sweet flavor; not to be confused with rosé, which is also pink but generally dry.

Bottle
A standard unit of wine volume containing 750 ml.

Cave cooperative
French term for a cooperative group of grape growers.

Chai
The French term for the building in which wine is stored before bottling.

Château
A French term loosely meaning a property or estate on which wine is grown and (usually) made, though the property's vineyards are not necessarily contiguous.

Château bottled
Wine bottled at the same property where it was grown, or at least made.

Clos
The French term for a walled vineyard.

Côte
French term for a hillside, a favored place for vine-growing; the plural is côtes.

Coteau
French term similar to côte (hillside) but indicating a smaller hill; the plural is coteaux.

Cuve
French term for a vat or tank.

Cuvée
French term for a blend; used widely in Provence rosé production to refer to the final blend of distinct lots of rosé.

Domaine (also Domain)
A French term for a vineyard (or property or estate) that makes and bottles wine from its own grapes.

Domaine bottled
French term for a wine bottled at the same property where it was grown and made.

Enologist (also Oenologist)
Person responsible for the technical side of winemaking.

Estate bottled
Wine bottled on the estate where it was made (however, in the U.S. the definition is a bit looser than in Europe); same as domaine bottled.

Gris
French term for a very pale rosé.

Maceration
A step in the rosé-making process during which the skins of the grapes steep in the juice for a limited period of time, releasing the red pigmentation that gives rosé its pink color (as well as the tannins that give it its dry character).

Mas
French word for farmstead; in wine, refers to a farm winery.

Must
Refers to crushed grapes in their pulpy stage, between juice and wine.

Négotiant
French term for a dealer, merchant, or wholesaler.

Saignée
French term for bleeding of the vats; see also Bleeding.

Sommelier
An originally French term for a waiter specializing in wine.

Tannins
Astringent compounds contained in grape skins and stems that help preserve wine and give it a dry edge.

Terroir
A French term referring to the physical environment, the land, or a sense of place.

Varietal
Refers to any wine sold under the name of the grape variety from which it was produced (e.g., Pinot Noir, Chardonnay).

Variety
Refers to any of various types of vines or grapes.

Vendange
French term for harvest.

Vinification
The process of making wine.

Vintage
The year in which the grapes are harvested; thus, also the year in which a wine is produced (e.g., 2007).

Vintner
One who makes wine; also frequently used for one who sells wine.

Viticulture
The science and practice of growing vines.

Yield
The volume of wine produced per acre or hectare. In Europe, yield is measured in hectoliters per hectare, or hl/ha (a hectoliter is equal to 100 liters or 26.4 U.S. gallons). In the United States, yield is measured in tons per acre. It is difficult to convert hectoliters/hectare to tons/acre since hectoliter is a measure of volume and ton is a measure of weight, but 40 hectoliters per hectare would be roughly equivalent to 2.96 tons per acre.