Wine Production

Glossary

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SALT. A chemical compound formed by reaction between an acid and a base. Common salt or sodium chloride NaCI is one example of a salt.

SEASONING. The period of time during the manufacture of oak barrels, when the planks are allowed to rest in the open, in order to draw out harsh tannins and other unwanted products. It also decreases the possibility of barrel leakage.

SENSORY THRESHOLD. For any given aroma, flavor or taste, there is a concentration below which we are no longer able to detect it. This point is called the sensory threshold, and where it occurs varies considerably from person to person, determining our ability to taste and explaining why tasting wine is such a personal, highly subjective experience.

SKIN CONTACT. The operation (and conditions, especially time and temperature) of macerating the solids (pomace, skins, seeds) of grapes with the fluid juice or fermenting wine. Necessary in the typical conversion of red grapes into red wine, but sometimes used in other contexts, such as making heavier white wines.

SOLUBILITY. The degree by which a solid will dissolve in a liquid.

SORTING. Checking the grape clusters for soundness during harvest. When bins loaded with grapes come in from the vineyard, they may contain overripe grapes, under ripe grapes, moldy grapes, leaves and other debris. Many qualityoriented wineries sort through the grape bunches to remove these unwanted items./p>

SPARGING. A process of bubbling gas to a wine. This technique can be used to remove dissolved oxygen or increase dissolved carbon dioxide.

SPARKLING WINES. Champagnes and other wines fermented a second time in a closed system (Charmat tank or individual bottle) so that the carbon dioxide generated remains in the wine.

STEMMY. A characteristic flavor imparted by not or incompletely removing the cluster stems (rachises) during winemaking. It is reminiscent of herbaceous, peppery, bitter components.

STUCK FERMENTATION. Alcoholic fermentation that has prematurely stopped before the conversion of all sugars.

STRUCTURE. Related to the mouthfeel of a wine, provided by acidity, tannin, alcohol, sugar and the way these components are balanced. Wines with low, unbalanced levels of acidity or tannin can be described as "lacking in structure" or "flabby." When the acidity or tannin levels are sufficiently high, a "firm structure" is the result.

STYLE. Refers to the character, not the quality, of a wine, which is determined in the vineyard and in the winery. Common styles at two ends of a continuum are fresh and fruity at one end and big and oaky at the other end. Style is not strictly correlated with quality; one style is not inherently better than another. Rather, style is a matter of personal preference for both the winemaker and the wine lover.

SUCROSE. Not a natural constituent of grapes but used in the chaptalization process in winemaking.

SUGAR. Present in grapes as fructose and glucose. Must enrichment may be in the form of sucrose.

SULFITES. Class of compounds that are both produced by yeast and added to wine to prevent oxidation, microbial spoilage, and further fermentation by the yeast. Ionic form is pH dependent.

SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO2). Chemical compound used widely in winemaking as a preservative, antiseptic and antioxidant.

SUR LIE. A French term meaning on lees used to designate a rather specific type of maceration on the yeast lees, usually with periodic stirring and especially with barrel fermented Chardonnay wine. A complex flavor can result from the yeast leakage over time.