Wine production



VAT. A large vessel that is used for fermentation, storage or ageing of wine. Historically made from wood, but now usually from other materials including cement, concrete and stainless steel. Some vats are closed, others open topped.

VEGETAL. Some wines contain elements in their smell and taste which are reminiscent of plants and vegetables. In Cabernet Sauvignon a small amount of this vegetal quality is said to be part of varietal character. But when the vegetal element takes over, or when it shows up in wines in which it does not belong, those wines are considered flawed.

VERAISON. The French word for ripening now adopted specifically for the onset of ripening of grapes. The transition stage marking the beginning of sugar accumulation, berry softening, chlorophyll loss, and anthocyanin formation.

VINIFICATION. Loosely synonymous with winemaking, the act of creating wine from grapes, beginning with the crushing of grapes at harvest and ending when the fermented juice is barreled.

VINTAGE. A specific harvest season for grapes and the resultant wine. By U.S. regulations designation on a wine label of the year of harvest requires that 95 percent of the wine was made from grapes harvested during that year.

VINTAGE DATE. Indicates the year that a wine was made. In order to carry a vintage date in the United States, for instance, a wine must come from grapes that are at least 95 percent from the stated calendar year.

VISCOSITY. The resistance to flow in a liquid.

VITIS VINIFERA. A European species of the Vitis genus from which nearly all of the world's wine is made.

VOLATILE ACIDITY. Present in all wine, resulting from the oxidation of alcohol to acetic acid (acid in vinegar). Small amounts enhance aroma; excessive amounts cause vinegary smell and taste.