The language of wine contains a wealth of meanings that are not all too familiar, particularly the technical interpretations. The glossary describes and offers an explanation to the most common terms.

microbiological decomposition of organic matter

The alcoholic fermentation converts the available sugars in the grape must into alcohol and carbon dioxide, with brewer's yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) as its catalyst. During this process, heat is produced, along with carbon gases, that need to be released. (Grape must + yeasts = alcohol + carbon dioxide + heat).

fermentation arrest
interrupting or arresting the process of fermentation

The deliberate or accidental interruption of the fermentation, that leaves the wine with a natural residual sugar content.

fermentation on the skins

A process of (red) wine fermentation, when the must interact with the grape skins during fermentation, resulting in added colour and tannins.

fermentation tank

The fermentation of wine usually occurs in stainless steel tanks, open top vats, oak casks and barrels, and earlier in cement vats or in glass carboys.

fermented dry
the sugars in the must have (virtually) all been converted into alcohol

The sugars in the must have (virtually) all been converted into alcohol, and the term is common for dry wines, where the taste of residual sugar is not noticable.

fermention vessel
vat or vessel for red wine fermentation

Generally, red wine ferments on the skins in vessels constructed of stainless steel or oak. These fermentation vessels are often equipped with temperature control regulators and technical aids (pumping over, punching down the cap, stirring elements, gas circulation), to keep the must moist and to achieve desired extraction of colour and tannin.

film-forming yeasts
wild yeasts

A wild yeast film that develops on the surface of the wine, if the vat or vessel is not completely full, and results in a sherry-like aroma and oxidation.

filter pad taste
taste of wet cardboard

A wet cardboard or filter pad taste that often derives from insufficient rinsing of the sheet filters. A wine fault that usually passes.

filtration, to filter
wine-making operation with must and wine to remove unwanted particles

The following types of filters are common; depth or sheet filtration, kieselguhr, membrane or cartridge filters, rotary drum vacuum filter, pressure leaf filter, centrifugation, cross flow or tangential filtration.

fine lees

After the first racking of the wine, or removing the wine from the gross lees and sediment, high quality wine is often left to rest on the fine lees, and with regular lees stirring (Bâtonnage), the wine becomes fuller and creamier.


Describes a wine that is delicate, subtle with balance.

fining is a wine-making operation

Fining or clarification is the process of removing the heat-unstable proteins from the wine, to avoid clouds, hazes or other deposits to develop later in the bottle. The most common fining agent is bentonite.

the wine-making operation of clarifying or stabilising the must or wine

According to the wine law, producers are permitted to use the fining agents. These are removed from the wine at the end of the process, and well known methods are bentonite fining, egg white fining and gelatine fining.

fining, clarification

The removal of the deposits or sediment from the wine, either by static or mechanical means, and is also described as fining.

aftertaste, finale

A tasting term that refers to the aftertaste of the wine in the mouth, or the last impression of the wine, also known as persistence or length.

first crop
the first crop of a young vineyard

The first crop of a young vineyard, normally in the third year of cultivation.

First growth or cru wine
high quality wine
first wine of a new vineyard

The first wine from the first crop of a new vineyard.

flash pasteurisation

Method used to sterilise grape juice, and a seldom procedure for wine.


The description for a flat, rather unspectacular wine that lacks acidity.


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