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Wine Glossary

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An artificial sweetener that can be used to sweeten dry wines without the problem of re-fermenting.

A large Champagne bottle, equivalent to twelve standard bottles.

A tart punch made from red wine to which orange, lemon, apricot juice and sugar have been added.

A screw on cap is an alternative to sealing a wine with cork. Another alternative is to use a synthetic cork. Cork, which is tree bark, cannot be sterilised, and the fungal infections it can hold result in tainted ('corked') aromas which ruin approximately 5% of all bottles.

This is a French word that describes a dry wine.

Secondary Fermentation
This term is most commonly used to refer to the continuation of fermentation in a second vessel, for example moving the wine from a stainless steel tank to an oak barrel.

Second Label Wine
This is a less expensive, second wine made by a winery from grapes or wine not considered worthy of the winery’s primary label.

The more common name for lees. The debris that accumulates in the bottom of the jar during fermentation.

Silica Hydrogel
A special fining that clears wine rapidly ensuring the sediment “sticks” to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. This product is included together with freeze-dried isinglass in the Harris Vin Clear sachets.

Single Vineyard Wine
This is a wine that is made from the grapes of a single plot of land, that usually carries the name of the vineyard on its label.

This is a process for aging wine by fractional blending over many years in a way that the finished product is mixture of ages. The average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years.

A wine steward working in fine restaurants specialising in all aspects of wine service. Their main work is in wine procurement, storage, wine cellar rotation, and providing expert advice to customers. The Sommelier works with the culinary team to pair wines and foods.

Sparkling Wine
A bubbly wine containing significant levels of carbon dioxide.

Specific Gravity (SG.)
The density of a liquid, such as fermenting must, compared with water. If it is less that 1.000, it is lighter than water, if more than 1.000 it is heavier. Measuring specific gravity provides information about the must sugar content and potential alcohol.

The stopping of the fermentation process and the prevention of re-fermentation by adding potassium sorbate and campden tablets.

A wine is stable when there is no danger of further fermentation.

Still Wine
Wine that is not sparkling wine.

The process of removing the solids from the must.

This is a tasting term that refers to the tannin and acidity levels. These elements give the wine a presence in the mouth and without them wine tends to taste flabby, like a fruit flavoured drink.

Stuck Fermentation                    
This is the term for a fermentation which simply won't begin, or which begins but then halts partway through the process.

A natural compound present in grapes as a result of photosynthesis. Sugar is used by yeast in the production of alcohol, a process known as fermentation.

Sugar Ripeness
This is when the grapes ripen and reach a certain sugar concentration, sufficient for alcoholic fermentation and meet other demands of the winemaker.

An important element in winemaking, with a wide variety of uses, often as sulphur dioxide. It may be used as a disinfectant in between vintages, and may be added to must and finished wines as an antibacterial agent. It is also be used in winemaking to terminate fermentation. Beware that excessive use can result in an unpleasant mothball or burnt match aroma from the wine.

The short name for sodium or potassium metabisulphite, an effective preservative preventing oxidation and spoilage. Recommended doses should not be exceeded

Sulphur Dioxide
A substance used in winemaking as a preservative.

Sweetness of Wine
Defined by the level of residual sugar in the final liquid after the fermentation has ceased. However, how sweet the wine will actually taste is also controlled by factors such as the acidity and alcohol levels, the amount of tannin present, and whether the wine is sparkling.

Synthetic Closure
Another way of saying plastic cork that overcomes tainting problems caused by traditional wooden corks.

Syphon (Siphon)
A long plastic tube used for racking and bottling the wine. See Wine Making Equipment for a photograph.


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