Chapter 1: General Wine Information

What is a wine’s vintage year?

A wine’s vintage is the year the grapes were harvested. For example, grapes for a 2000 Pinot Noir were harvested in the fall of that year, fermented, and placed into oak barrels for aging. While the wine may have been bottled and sold well into 2001 or 2002, the label on the bottle will reflect a vintage of 2000. If an industry’s wines have had a “good vintage” year, it means that overall, conditions were ideal for growing grapes, and as a result, the wines should also be very good.

A vintage also serves a much more fundamental purpose: it gives the consumer an idea of how old the wine is, and can help in making decisions about purchasing, storing, caring for, and serving the wine.

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What is wine?

Wine is the fermented juice of fruit or berries. With regards to grapes, a wine may consist of a single type of grape, or may contain a blend of different grapes. It may also have contain additional fruits, alcohols, and other additives. Through different production processes and grapes, come many types of wine.

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What are some commonly used wine terms used in foreign languages?

We’ve compiled the following chart of frequently used wine terms in several major foreign languages. When reading foreign literature on wines, you may find the following chart a handy tool for deciphering unfamiliar vocabulary.

English French Spanish Italian German
age (verb) vieillir criar stagionare lassen
appellation (noun) une appellation une denominación una denominazione die Bezeichnung
aroma, odor (noun) un arôme, une odeur un aroma un aroma der Duft
barrel, cask (noun) un tonneau, une barrique un tonel, una barrica un barile, una botte die Tonne, das Weinfaß
blush wine (noun) un rosé un vino rosado un vino rosato der Roséwein, der Schillerwein
bottle (noun) une bouteille una botella una bottiglia die Weinflasche
bottle (verb) mettre (mise) en bouteille embotellar imbottigliare auf Flaschen ziehen
cork (noun) un bouchon un tapón, un corcho un tappo der Kork
cork (verb) boucher taponar, poner el corcho a tappare korken
corkscrew (noun) un tire-bouchon un sacacorchos un cavatappi der Korkzieher
drink (verb) boire tomar; beber bere trinken
ferment (verb) travailler fermentar fermentare in Garüng bringen
fermentation (noun) le travail la fermentación la fermentazione der Garüngs-prozeß
finish (noun) un arrière-goût un postgusto un retrogusto der Nachgeschmack
flavor (noun) le goût, la saveur el sabor un gusto, un sapore der Geschmack
glass (noun) un verre un vaso un bicchiere das Glas
grape (noun) un raisin una uva un’uva, un chicco d’uva die Weinbeere
grape harvest (noun) le vendange (la récolte des raisins) la vendimia (la cosecha de uvas) la vendemmia (la raccolta dei die Weinlese
harvest (verb) récolter cosechar vendemmiare lesen
label (noun) une étiquette una etiqueta un’etichetta das Etikett
nose (noun) le bouquet el buqué il bouquet das Bukett, die Blume
pour (verb) verser echar, escanciar versare eingießen, einschenken
red wine (noun) un vin rouge un vino tinto un vino rosso der Rotwein
taste wine (verb) déguster du vin catar vino degustare vino verkosten
varietal (noun) un cépage una variedad, un vino monovarietal un varietà di vite die Weinsorte
vine (noun) une vigne la vid una vite der Weinstock
vine growing (noun) la viticulture la viticultura la viticoltura der Weinbau
vineyard (noun) un vignoble una viñeda una vigna, un vogneto der Weinberg, der Weingarten
vintage (noun) un cru, un vendange una crianza un’annata, una produzione die Weinernte
white wine (noun) un vin blanc un vino blanco un vino bianco der Weisswein
wine (noun) un vin un vino un vino der Wein
wine cellar (noun) une cave una bodega una cantina der Weinkellar
wine glass (noun) un verre à vin una copa para vino un bicchiere da vino das Weinglas
wine list (noun) une carte des vins una lista des vinos un elenco dei vini, una list dei vini die Weinkarte
wine steward, wine waiter (noun) le sommelier un escanciador un sommelier der Weinkellner
wine tasting (noun) une dégustation de vins una degustación de vinos una degustazione dei vini die Weinprobe
winemaker (noun) un vigneron un viñador, un viñatero un viticoltore der Weinbauer, der Weinhändler
winery (noun) une cave de vinification una bodega una bottiglieria die Weinkellerei
English French Spanish Italian German
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When was the first wine produced in the world?

Wine and fermented juices have played a role in civilization for at least 8,000 years. In 2017, Residue containing tartaric acid, a signature of wine, was discovered in a the remains of a clay jar in the country of Georgia, dating to 8,000 years old.

Records by Egyptians give the first written account of grape wine, and date to around 2500 B.C. Egyptians employed much the same method for producing wines as are present today, including cultivating, fermenting, bottling, and storing wines. As with any refined skill that has weathered the years, the knowledge of winemaking has come and gone, its methods have evolved, and the final product has flourished.

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What are the major differences between a red and white wine?

Differences between red and white wines include the kinds of grapes used, the fermentation and aging process, and the character and flavor of the finished product.

First, the grapes themselves are noticeably different, with a predominantly red or white color of skin, although the juice of both types is mostly clear.

When fermented, additional pressing of the red grapes releases many tannins and colors into the wine, contributing to the deep, velvety color and flavor of red wines. Following fermentation, the wine may be matured and conditioned in oak barrels for several months. This will add additional wood tannins and flavors. As this could overpower the subtler flavors of white wines, few (such as Chardonnay) are aged in oak. These same tannins, however, help intensify and add richness to a red wine, which is why most reds are aged in oak.

The result is that red wines exhibit a set of rich flavors with spicy, herby and even meaty characteristics. On the other hand, white wines are light in character, with crisp, fruit flavors and aromas.

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What is an “appellation” or “AVA”?

The term “appellation” varies slightly from country to country, but in the more basic sense, it is the region in which a wine was produced. The term “AVA” (American Viticultural Area) is the North American equivalent of the word ‘appellation’ and refers to a specific growing region.

Oregon has 17 official AVAs and several new ones are currently under review for consideration.

Though some wineries and vineyards are located outside of these regions, the majority of Oregon wines can be classified under a regional AVA.

Wines produced with grapes originating from more than one of these AVAs may simply be labeled as an Oregon wine.

For more information on AVA guidelines, please visit the following Web address:

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