We thought we’d start posting a little bit of wine terminology for those looking to get a little more familiar with wine. This is totally informal information- We try not to take ourselves to seriously here and maybe had one or two glasses of Estancia Pinot Grigio while we were writing it
Wine Vintage: Vintage is the year in which the grapes were harvested. Weather plays a crucial role in the quality of the wine. Vintage is important because weather can be so different from year to year. Keep in mind that weather is typically regional- Meaning that a good or bad vintage for wines from one area may not be the same for a different geographical area. Some grapes can also handle different types of inclement weather better. There are also certain measures the vineyard can take to try and limit the effects of harsh weather. 2005 is widely known as a great year for wines worldwide.
Wine Varietal: This is the “type” of wine. There are several varietals out there including: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Chardonnay, and more. These wines are made from a single grape variety.
Aging Wine: Many wine collectors like to age their wine. It’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. Some wines get better with time while others go sour. Wine is, after all, perishable. The wine also needs to be properly cared for in the aging process. It is important to store the wine in a wine cooler or wine cellar. It should be protected from large temperature variations, UV Rays, and vibrations. The ability to age the wine is affected by the type of grapes, the vintage, how the wine was made, and many other factors. Now maybe you can understand why a bottle of aged wine costs to much!
Tannins: Anyone with at least a minimal exposure to wine has some sort of an idea what tannins are. You know that pinching feeling in your cheek when you take a sip of Cab? That’s the feeling of tannins. Tannins don’t provide flavor; They provide sensations. They also play a very important role in keeping wine fresh. You see, tannins are the natural preservatives found in wine. They can be increased through the wine making process by including more of the grape skins and using oak barrels. Wines with high levels of tannins tend to be good for aging.
Harvest: Young grapes are sour (high acid), older grapes are sweet (high sugar). There is that perfect time of the year when the sugar content versus acid content makes for good wine. That time of the year is called “harvest“. The best way for you to experience this for yourself is to go to a winery early in the season, taste a grape, and then come back to taste a grape from the same vine at harvest. You will notice a huge difference! That sugar is needed for the yeast to convert to alcohol.
Winery: Okay, this one is kind of a no-brainer. But what you may not know is how much wine a winery can crank out. Each bottle of wine typically consists of 600 to 800 grapes. Research shows that an average of 5,500 bottles of wine come from each acre of vineyards. The numbers can vary greatly depending on the vineyard, vine and row spacing, and the vintage. Numbers can be as low as 1,400 bottles per acre and sometimes as high as 7,200 bottles per acre. That, my friends, is a lot of wine!