Fun Wine Facts

Below is a short list of some of the more metaphorical-, unscientific-sounding words used in the wine world. Although they sound unofficial, they really are the correct terms to use. Keep reading, to find out if you’re using them correctly.

Breathe: When you allow a wine to breathe, you are giving it air, which improves the perfume and the texture of the wine.

Bricking: When red wines mature or age, they lighten in color and move from purple, to dark red, to ruby and finally to the color of brick. This is the same term as browning.

Body: the feel of a wine in your mouth, relating to weight and ‘fullness’.

Bouquet: the more nuanced aroma combinations detected in aged wines.

Bung/bung hole: not what you think! The bung seals the bung hole, which is an opening in wine barrels used to add or remove wine.

Brix: the measurement of a grape’s sugar content when harvested.

Cooked: a wine that has been subjected to heat damage in storage.

Corked: A wine is ‘corked’ when it smells and tastes slightly moldy, or like wet cardboard (not wine with cork particles floating about). If it smells like this, it’s obviously tainted.

Cuvée: On champagne bottles, it means the wine is a blend.

Mature: ready to drink.

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

Must: unfermented grape juice including seeds, skins, and stems gathered from wine grapes.

Noble rot: the layman’s term for botrytis. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively sweet flavored wines.

Nose: a tasting term describing the aromas and smell of a wine.

Oaky: tasting term denoting smells and flavors of vanilla, baking spices, coconut, mocha or dill caused by barrel-aging in oak.

Plonk: British slang for inexpensive, low-quality wine.

Swirling: what you do to wine in a glass before tasting to aerate the wine and release its aromas.

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