Last month, Louisvale Wines gave you a quick glimpse under the hood of talking wine like an expert. Today we’re going to unpack some key wine world terms that will also help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of getting that perfect vintage. Let’s go!

People Who Create and Enjoy Wine

As we mentioned in the last blog, there’s a lot of French terminology used in the wine world, because many of these techniques and styles were brought to us from famous French wine-making areas. Don’t let this put you off! As long as you are pretty clear about what you want, a great wine sommelier, or ‘expertly trained specialist waiter for wine’ (often shortened to som) can help you find what you’re looking for. Still, it’s nice to know some of the low down.

You might be a supertaster, someone who is extra-sensitive to the bitter and tannin tastes in wine. If you have a good nose, you pick up the aroma and bouquet very well. When a wine is open, it’s ready to drink. Anosmia means the wine has lost its smell, so don’t confuse it with the actual medical condition some people have!

A closed wine is one that’s still underperforming, and is a little young to enjoy.  Plonk, on the other hand, is a British term for rather cheap wine, sometimes called a pap sack or box wine in South Africa.

Negociants are people who deal with wine in bulk, either shipping, blending, or selling wine.

Things We Do to Wine

The most important thing to know in the wider wine world is the vintage of your wine. Many great vineyards- like Louisvale’s own- are known for specific types of wine. That’s why we’re called the local House of Cape Chardonnay, for instance. However, some harvests make for exceptional drinking. Each wine ‘year’ that’s produced is called a vintage. The harvest is sometimes called the crush, since that’s what will happen to the grapes produced. The yield tells you how much harvest there was that year, and a vineyard’s terroir is a quite complicated concept that links the geography of the vineyard to the wine it produces. Under the Bordeaux Classification of 1855, really great qualifying vineyards can call themselves cru classé. Another wine-specific term you may encounter is cuvée, which is a blended champagne. Vinification is the process of making wine, and vinology is the study of making great wines, while oenology is the science that goes into wine!

Rest assured, all of Louisvale’s wines are VEGAN friendly, as we do not use fining agents from animal by-products but keep it Vegan friendly by using Bentonite Clay. 

Places that store wine are called cellars, even though it may not be underground. When you air a wine to improve its flavour, it’s called aeration, or breathing the wine. While the oak containers we store wine in are typically called  barrels, they can also be called barrique, and the bung (which goes in the bunghole), is the stopper used on the barrel, kind of like a really big cork.

There’s a lot of fun terminology to learn in the wine world, but don’t let it hold you back from enjoying the wines you love. The Louisvale Wines team strongly believe that’s the most important part of the whole wine experience, so be sure to enjoy what you love, even if the terms used to describe it are still a little unfamiliar!