Glossary by Topic

General terms | Grape and wine components | Wine descriptors | Vineyard terms | Winemaking terms | Sparkling wine terms | Business and legal terms

General Terms

annata    vintage; year of harvest
assaggio    (n) taste; sample (of wine)
bicchiere    wineglass; drinking glass
bottiglia    bottle (pl bottiglie)
cavatappi    corkscrew
chiusura    closure (of a wine bottle)
classico    classic, often used in reference to a historic wine region or a traditional style
colle    hill (pl colli)
collina    small hill (pl colline)
collo    neck (of a bottle)
coppa    cup; goblet; wide-mouthed wineglass
degustazione    tasting, especially a formal tasting to evaluate wine
denominazione    denomination; appellation; place-name
etichetta    label
grappa    spirit made by distilling grape pomace (skins and seeds)
gusto    (n) taste; flavor
imbottigliato    bottled
invecchiato    aged
produttore    producer
qualità    quality
riserva    reserve; a wine of longer aging and usually higher quality than the norm for that style
tipologia    type; style (of wine) (pl tipologie)
uva    grape
varietà    variety
vino    wine (pl vini)
vitigno    grape variety (pl vitigni)

Grape and Wine Componentsback to top

acidità    acidity
acido    acid, especially acetico (acetic), lattico (lactic), malico (malic), and tartarico (tartaric)
alcol, alcool    alcohol, especially alcol etilico (ethyl alcohol or ethanol)
anidride carbonica    carbon dioxide
anidride solforosa    sulfur dioxide
antociani    anthocyanins
buccia (d’uva)    grape skin
estratto    extract; the components of a wine, apart from sugar, that would remain if all the liquid is evaporated
etanolo    ethanol
grappolo (d’uva)    grape bunch (pl grappoli)
minerali    minerals
polifenoli    polyphenols
polpa    pulp; flesh
raspo    stem (of a grape bunch); stalk
tannino    tannin (pl tannini); astringent compounds primarily found in grape skins and wood
vinacciolo    grapeseed
zucchero    sugar

Wine Descriptorsback to top

Colors and Appearance

ambra    amber
ambrato    “ambered”; turning brown
bianco    white (pl bianchi)
bollicine    bubbles
cerasuolo    cherry red
chiaretto    claret; a color on the border between a deep rosato and a light red
colore    color
dorato    golden
effervescenza    effervescence
frizzante    effervescent; fizzy; exhibiting carbon dioxide bubbles in solution, but at a lower pressure than a fully sparkling (spumante) wine
giallo    yellow
granato    garnet
limpidezza    clarity
mattonato    brick red
nero    black
paglierino    pale yellow; straw
porpora    purple; crimson
rosato    rosy; pink; rosé
rosso    red
rubino    ruby red
spumante    sparkling (wine)
tranquillo    still; not effervescent
viola, violetta    violet; purple
vivace    lively; youthful, sometimes slightly effervescent

Aromas and Flavors

anice    anise; licorice flavor
aromatico    aromatic; having a rich, usually floral, aroma
botrizzato    botrytized; affected by botrytis (muffa nobile)
cannella    cinnamon
cuoio    leather
erbaceo    herbaceous; vegetal
fiori    flowers
floreale    floral; reminiscent of the aroma of flowers
fragrante    fragrant; perfumed; aromatic; fruity
frutta    fruit
gusto    (n) taste; flavor
legno    wood
minerali    minerals
muffa nobile    noble rot; botrytis (Botrytis cinerea)
odore    odor; aroma; smell
profumo    perfume; aroma; nose
quercia    oak
retrogusto    aftertaste
sapore    flavor
vaniglia    vanilla


abboccato    off-dry; somewhat sweet (approx. 7–15 g/l residual sugar for still wines, 12–35 g/l for frizzante wines, and 32–50 g/l for sparkling wines)
amabile    semisweet; demisec (approx. 15–45 g/l residual sugar for still wines, 30–50 g/l for frizzante wines, and 40–100 g/l for fortified wines; not used for sparkling wines)
asciutto    bone dry (officially synonymous with secco: less than approx. 7 g/l residual sugar for still wines, 17–32 g/l for sparkling wines)
dolce    sweet (more than 45 g/l residual sugar for still and frizzante wines, more than 50 g/l for sparkling wines, more than 100 g/l for fortified wines)
secco    dry (less than 4–9 g/l residual sugar, depending on acidity level, for still wines; 17–32 g/l for sparkling wines; less than 40 g/l for fortified wines)
zuccheri residui    residual sugars

Mouthfeel and Overall Impression

acerbo    unripe; green
acidulo    acidic; having excessive (sour) acidity
amaro    bitter
amarognolo    having a slightly bitter aftertaste
ampio    ample; rich, complex, and balanced
armonico    harmonious; balanced; proportionate
caldo    hot (alcoholic)
caratteristico    characteristic; appropriate for the named grape variety, region, or wine style
corpo    body
corposo    full-bodied
corto    short; having little persistence in the mouth
delicato    delicate
elegante    elegant
equilibrato    balanced
fine    elegant and harmonious
fresco    fresh; crisply acidic
fruttato    fruity
giovane    young; lacking maturity
intenso    intense (in aroma, color, or flavor)
invecchiato    aged
leggero    lightweight; low in alcohol
maderizzato    maderized; oxidized
maturo    mature
morbido    soft and balanced, with barely detectable sweetness and low to normal acidity
ossidato    oxidized; having been adversely affected by contact with air
persistente    having a prolonged finish
pesante    heavy; overly alcoholic
pieno    full; full-bodied; rich
robusto    robust; full-bodied
rotondo    round; well-balanced with moderate acidity
sapido    sapid; flavorful; full-bodied
struttura    structure
tannico    tannic; rich in tannins
tappo    (adj) corked (aroma); affected by 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA)
vecchio    old
vellutato    velvety; soft and smooth on the palate
vinoso    vinous; grapey; fresh and fruity like a young wine

Vineyard Termsback to top

acino    grape; berry (pl acini)
agronomo    agronomist; an agricultural scientist
autoctono    autochthonous; native to the place where it is growing; indigenous
bacca    grape; berry (a more general botanical term than acino)
biodinamica    biodynamic (agriculture)
biologica    organic (agriculture)
botrizzato    botrytized; affected by botrytis (muffa nobile)
densità    density (of a vineyard’s planting)
ettaro    hectare (equivalent to 2.47 acres)
fillossera    phylloxera root louse
forzatura    forcing; strengthening; causing unnaturally vigorous growth in a vineyard
impianto    planting; implantation
lotta biologica    the vineyard pest control strategy of using only biological (organic) means to combat pests, rejecting all chemicals except copper and sulfur
lotta guidata    literally, guided struggle or reasoned fight; the vineyard strategy of using chemicals only when damage from pests and disease is imminent, rather than proactively on a routine schedule
lotta integrata    integrated pest management; the vineyard strategy of using biological and chemical means in a coordinated plan to combat pests
muffa nobile    noble rot; botrytis (Botrytis cinerea)
pergola    traditional high training of vines overhead
potatura    pruning
resa    yield (of grapes from a vineyard)
scelto    chosen; selected, referring to grape bunches or individual berries hand-harvested for quality
sesti    spacing; distances; density (of vineyard plantings)
suolo    soil
terreno    terrain; land; soil
varietà    (grape) variety
vendemmia    harvest
vendemmia tardiva    late harvest
vigna    vineyard (pl vigne)
vignaiolo    grape grower; vine dresser
vigneto    vineyard, especially a large vineyard
vite    vine (pl viti)
viticoltore    viticulturist; grape grower
viticoltura    viticulture
vitigno    grape variety (pl vitigni)

Winemaking Termsback to top

acciaio (inossidabile)    (stainless) steel
acido    acid, especially acetico (acetic), lattico (lactic), malico (malic), and tartarico (tartaric)
affinamento    finishing; refinement (of a wine after vinification and blending, before release)
appassimento    the process of drying grapes
arricchimento    enrichment; increasing the sugar content of grape must
assemblaggio    blending
autoclave    autoclave; pressurized tank
barile    small wine barrel, typically made of wood and holding about 50 liters
botte    wine barrel, normally made of wood and of any size but usually 200 liters or more (pl botti)
caratello    small wine barrel, typically made of wood and holding about 100 liters
castagno    chestnut tree or wood (sometimes used for casks or tanks)
colmatura    topping up (a barrel)
dolcificazione    sweetening
elaborazione    elaboration; processing (of wine); winemaking
enologia    enology; winemaking
enologo    enologist; winemaker
ettolitro    hectoliter (100 liters, equivalent to about 26.4 U.S. gallons or 11.1 cases)
fecce, feccia    sediment from the winemaking process; dregs; lees
fermentazione    fermentation
filtrato    filtered
filtrazione    filtration
gradazione alcolica    alcoholic content; equivalent to “proof” in the U.S. (titolo alcolometrico is preferred)
imbottigliamento    the bottling process
invecchiamento    the aging process
legno    wood
lieviti    yeast (pl)
liquoroso    fortified; with added alcohol
macerazione    maceration
macerazione carbonica    carbonic maceration
malolattica    malolactic (fermentation)
maturazione    maturation; aging
monovitigno    varietal; a wine made from a single grape variety
mosto    grape must; juice for winemaking
novello    (adj) new; (n) a light-bodied red wine made for release soon after harvest
ossidazione    oxidation
passito    wine made using partially dried grapes to increase the alcohol and/or sweetness level
pigiatura    crushing; pressing
quercia    oak
rifermentazione    refermentation
ripasso    literally, repassed; a wine whose alcoholic strength is increased and its complexity enhanced by combining it with the drained but still fermenting skins of a dried-grape wine to initiate a second fermentation
riserva    reserve; a wine of longer aging and usually higher quality than the norm for that style
solfato    sulfate
sughero    cork (material)
superiore    superior; a wine of a somewhat higher standard—most commonly slightly riper grapes—than the norm for that style
tappatura    the corking process
tappo    (n) cork; closure; (adj) corked (aroma); affected by 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA)
tappo a vite    screw cap
titolo alcolometrico volumico effettivo    actual alcoholic strength
titolo alcolometrico volumico naturale    potential alcoholic strength before any enrichment
titolo alcolometrico volumico potenziale    potential alcoholic strength; the actual alcoholic strength that would be achieved if all sugars were fully fermented
uvaggio    blend of grapes
vinaccia, vinacce    pomace; marc (pressed grape skins and seeds)
vinificazione    vinification; winemaking
vin santo    literally, holy wine; a traditional wine style of Toscana characterized by an exceptionally long, slow fermentation of sweet juice from dried grapes in sealed barrels
zuccheri residui    residual sugars

Terms Relevant to Sparkling Wineback to top

bollicine    bubbles
dosaggio    dosage; the liquid added to classic-method sparkling wine after disgorging for sweetening and topping up
effervescenza    effervescence
frizzante    effervescent; fizzy; exhibiting carbon dioxide bubbles in solution, but at a lower pressure than a fully sparkling (spumante) wine
lieviti    yeast (pl)
metodo Charmat    the method of fermenting sparkling wine in pressurized tanks (autoclaves) and then transferring the wine into bottles under pressure; also called metodo Martinotti
metodo classico    the classic Champagne method of fermenting sparkling wine in the bottle in which it is sold
metodo Martinotti    another name for metodo Charmat, especially in Piemonte
metodo tradizionale    another name for metodo classico
millesimato    vintage dated
presa di spuma    the process of creating the second fermentation
rifermentazione    refermentation
Satèn    a style of white sparkling wine made in Franciacorta
sboccatura    disgorgement
spuma    foam; effervescence
spumante    sparkling (wine)
Talento    a collective brand name for a style of sparkling wine made by the metodo classico; using only Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and/or Pinot Nero; with a minimum of 15 months’ aging on the lees; and made in a brut or drier style (less than 12 g/l residual sugar)
tappo a fungo    mushroom cork

Business and Legal Termsback to top

azienda agricola    wine estate; a farm that grows grapes and produces its own wine
azienda vinicola    a winemaking firm that buys most or all of its grapes from growers
cantina    cellar; winery
cantina sociale    winery cooperative
cascina    farmhouse; rural wine estate
confezionamento    packaging (closure and bottle)
consorzio    consortium, especially of wine producers in a specific region
consumatore    consumer
consumo    consumption
cooperativo    winery cooperative
degustazione    tasting, especially a formal tasting to evaluate wine
denominazione    denomination; appellation; place-name
disciplinare    document that sets forth the rules and standards for wine production in a defined region
distributore    distributor
enoteca    wine shop; wine bar
etichettatura    labeling
ettolitro    hectoliter (100 liters, equivalent to about 26.4 U.S. gallons or 11.1 cases)
fattoria    farm; farmhouse; rural wine estate
imballaggio    packing (putting wine bottles in containers for shipping or storing)
importatore    importer
marchio    trademark; brand (pl marchi)
podere    farm; rural wine estate
prezzo    price
produttore    producer
provenienza    provenance; place of origin
qualità    quality
tenuta    estate

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