Wine production



OAK. Preferred type of wood in which to ferment and/or mature wine. Provides character and imparts flavor. Barrels, staves or chips may be used according to winemakers aims and financial constraints.

OAKY. Describes the aroma or taste quality imparted to a wine by the oak barrels or casks in which it was aged. Can be either positive or negative. The terms toasty, vanilla, dill, cedary and smoky indicate the desirable qualities of oak; charred, burnt, green cedar, lumber and plywood describe its unpleasant side.

OECHSLE. Scale used for measuring the specific gravity or must weight of grape juice to measure the final alcohol level of wine, commonly used in Germany.

OENOLOGY (also Enology). The science of winemaking.

OIV. Organization Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin is intergovernmental organization, regarded as the science and technical reference of the vine and wine world. Its member states account for over 85 percent of world wine production, but excludes the USA, Canada, Mexico, and China.

OPTICAL SORTING TABLE. Fast and effective method for sorting grapes that replaces hand sorting tables. The electronic eye analyses the images of the grapes as they move along a belt and compares with previously defined standards to accept or reject.

ORANGE WINES. White wines made with extended grape skin contact during fermentation or maceration, imparting an orange hue to the finished wine, along with tannins. The practice originated thousands of years ago in the Caucasus, but has more recently regained popularity in Italy's Friuli region and the neighboring Brda district of Slovenia.

ORGANIC. Relating to living organisms and based on the chemistry of carbon.

OXIDATIVE. Refers to winemaking practices that deliberately expose the wine to oxygen, such as the use of open-top fermentors and racking. Traditional winemaking exposes the wine to some air, but does not result in oxidized notes. An aggressively oxidative approach can result in nutty notes, as seen in wines such as Sherry or vin jaunes from the Jura.

OXIDIZED. Describes wine that has been exposed too long to air and taken on a brownish color, losing its freshness and perhaps beginning to smell and taste like Sherry or old apples. Oxidized wines are also called maderized or sherrified.