V

Vanilla
Aroma and flavor reminiscent of vanilla that is impaired to the wine by new oak barrels.
Varietal
When a wine is made from just one grape (no blending), and the wine is named after that same grape, it is called a “varietal”.
Vegetal
Green. A negative tasting term, typical of grapes that grow in cool areas and don’t have enough time to fully ripen. They will display aromas and tastes that remind you of bell peppers, asparagus and other vegetables.
Velvety
A wine with a mouth feel that is particularly smooth is said to be “velvety” (or “silky”).
Vendange
Grape harvest in French.
Vendange tardive
“Late harvest” in French. “VT” (for short) is the term used in Alsace to refer to a style of dessert wine where the grapes are allowed to hang on the vine until they start to dehydrate. The process concentrates the sugars of the grapes and creates new flavors in the wine that will be produced from them.
Vendange verte
“Green harvest” in French. The removal of grape bunches before they are mature. The rationale behind this practice is to decrease yields.
Vendemmia
Italian word for harvest.
Vendimia
Spanish word for vintage or year.
Véraison
French term adopted in the English literature for viticulture. It defines the period of development of the grapes when they change color.
Verjus
French word for unripe grapes.
Viejo
Spanish word for old. It refers to wines that have been aged for at least 3 years.
Vigneron
French for winegrower (there’s no “winemaker” in the French language).
Vin
The French word for wine.
Vin de garde
wines for long term aging in the bottle (French term).
Vinaccia
Italian word for grape pomace. The skins, stalks, and seeds that remain after the fermentation process.
Vinho
The Portuguese word for wine.
Vino
The Italian and Spanish word for wine.
Vino da Tavola
“Table wine” in Italian. Wines with no designation of origin or grape variety. This classification represents the lowest level of quality in Italy.
Vintage
The particular year when the grapes were harvested.
Viticulture
The science of growing wine grapes.
Vitigno
Italian word for grape variety.
Vitis Labrusca
North American native grapes. Catawba and Concord are examples.
Vitis Vinifera
The genus of grapes native to Europe. Cabernet sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay are a few examples.
Vivace
Italian word for lively. A young wine with a minor amount of effervescence. “Perlant” in French.
Volatile Acidity (VA)
It refers to the steam distillable acids present in wine, primarily acetic acid but also lactic, formic, butyric, and propionic acids. Its threshold in red wine varies from significantly (depending on the grape variety, style and, of course, the person who is tasting the wine). If the VA is above the sensory threshold, the wine is generally considered undesirable because of their pungent, sour taste.
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