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Learn Some Winemaking Lingo

Posted on September 03, 2018

With Harvest here, wine country is buzzing and alive. If you’re planning on visiting some Calistoga wineries or Sonoma CA wineries, now is a great time to learn some wine lingo. Check out these commonly used terms in the wine world.

Veraison

You’re walking through a beautiful vineyard at Calistoga wineries or Sonoma CA wineries, and you notice a cluster of grapes with both green and red colors. That is called veraison and it’s an indication that ripening has begun. During veraison, the berries are softening and their colors are changing.

Brix

Ever wondered how winemakers measure sugar quantity in grapes or juice? They use brix – a scale that measures just that. It also helps determine ripeness.

Tannins

You’ve heard this word throughout Calistoga wineries and Sonoma CA wineries but what is it exactly? Tannins are extracted from the grape seeds and skins – they’re a naturally occurring compound (polyphenols for the scientists in the room!). They add body and structure to wine and an astringent or chalky taste. It’s that thing that makes your mouth pucker when you drink certain red wines. Strong tannins can also cause headaches for some folks. If you think they may cause headaches for you, test the theory by consuming other high tannin substances such as dark chocolate or strong black tea.

Racking

Moving wine form one vessel to another. Racking helps filter wine by separating it from particles that settle after fermentation. These particles are “lees”. Calistoga wineries and Sonoma CA wineries will work hard to make sure their wines are properly filtered.

Pump Overs

This is the mixing of tanks by pumping wine up from the bottom to submerge the floating skin cap which increases the flavor and color in red wine.

Punch Downs

Opposite of pump overs, punch downs push the skin cap down from the top.

Hot Bining

Means exactly what it sounds like: filling a half-ton grape bin with hot water for soaking. You’ll see Calistoga wineries and Sonoma CA wineries doing this during harvest.

How Can You Use Your Winemaking Lingo?

If you want to flex your winecabulary, join us on a wine tour through Calistoga wineries and Sonoma CA wineries. Show off in front of your friends with a little bit of wine knowledge and enjoy the fun that is harvest season in Napa and Sonoma!

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