Conventional wine: From grapes chemically treated like any other agricultural product to deal with pests, viruses, weeds, fungi, and to increase yield, using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, synthetic fertilizers and/or many, many many chemicals allowed on the vines and/or in the soil. Conventional wines may contain sulfite levels up to 350 parts per million (ppm).
Subtainable: Sustainable agriculture attempts to minimize environmental impacts and ensure economic viability and a safe, healthy workplace through the use of environmentally and economically sound production practices. While it cannot technically be called organic, sustainable viticulture addresses how all of the potential production practices impact the environmental, economic, and social outcomes on the farm and how best to maximize the benefits associated with these outcomes through sound growing practices.
Organic wine: Wine made from grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic farming, which typically excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
Biodynamic: Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition.
Biodynamics was first developed in the early 1920s based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), whose philosophy is called “anthroposophy.” Today, the biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of successful gardens, farms, vineyards and agricultural operations of all kinds and sizes on all continents, in a wide variety of ecological and economic settings.
Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.
Most biodynamic initiatives seek to embody triple bottom line approaches (ecological, social and economic sustainability), taking inspiration from Steiner’s insights into social and economic life as well as agriculture. Community supported agriculture (CSA), for example, was pioneered by biodynamic farmers, and many biodynamic practitioners work in creative partnerships with other farms and with schools, medical and wellness facilities, restaurants, hotels, homes for social therapy and other organizations.
Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.
Natural wine: In a perfect world, a natural wine is wine made with organically grown grape, hand picked harvested, fermented on wild yeast and using nothing else than the hands of the winemakers. (Zero manipulation from growing the grape to the vinification)
Industrial or green revolution: Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s. It forms a part of the ‘neo-colonial’ system of agriculture wherein agriculture was viewed as more of a commercial sector than a subsistence one. wikipedia
Indigenous yeast: Indigenous, spontaneous, natural, aboriginal, feral, native, endemic, ambient, wild, many name for it. In the absence of oxygen yeast convert the sugars of wine grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide through the process of fermentation
Vinification: Winemaking, or vinification, is the production of wine, starting with selection of the grapes or other produce and ending with bottling the finished wine. wikipedia
Fermentation: The process of fermentation in winemaking turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide. Wikipedia
Carbonic maceration: A winemaking technique, often associated with the French wine region of Beaujolais, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment prior to crushing. Conventional alcoholic fermentation involves crushing the grapes to free the juice and pulp from the skin with yeast serving to convert sugar into ethanol. Carbonic maceration ferments most of the juice while it is still inside the grape, although grapes at the bottom of the vessel are crushed by gravity and undergo conventional fermentation. The resulting wine is fruity with very low tannins. It is ready to drink quickly but lacks the structure for long-term aging. wikipedia
Malolactic fermentation: Malolactic fermentation (or sometimes malolactic conversion or MLF) is a process in winemaking where tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation tends to create a rounder, fuller mouthfeel. It has been said that malic acid tastes of green apples. By contrast, lactic acid is richer and more buttery tasting. Grapes produced in cool regions tend to be high in acidity, much of which comes from the contribution of malic acid. MLF is also thought to generally enhance the body and flavor persistence of wine, producing wines of greater palate softness and roundness. Many winemakers also feel that better integration of fruit and oak character can be achieved if MLF occurs during the time the wine is in barrel. wikipedia
Sulfite: Sulfites are commonly introduced to arrest fermentation at a desired time, and may also be added to wine as preservatives to prevent spoilage and oxidation at several stages of the winemaking. Sulfur dioxide (SO2, sulfur with two atoms of oxygen) protects wine from not only oxidation, but also from bacteria. wikipedia
Pesticide: Substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. They are a class of biocide. The most common use of pesticides is as plant protection products (also known as crop protection products), which in general protect plants from damaging influences such as weeds, diseases or insects. This use of pesticides is so common that the term pesticide is often treated as synonymous with plant protection product, although it is in fact a broader term, as pesticides are also used for non-agricultural purposes. It is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, antimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. wikipedia
Fertilizer: Any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. wikipedia
Chaptalization: The process of adding sugar to unfermented grape must in order to increase the alcohol content after fermentation. This process is not intended to make the wine sweeter, but rather to provide more sugar for the yeast to ferment into alcohol. wikipedia
Here is a list of additives permitted under the EU law:
|Type or purpose of addition||Permitted additives|
acacia (gum arabic)
proteins of plant origin
ovalbumin (egg white)
neutral potassium tartrate
|Enrichment||concentrated grape must
rectified concentrated grape must
yeast cell walls
yeasts for wine production
dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC)
About the Palate
This is not a definition of what is a palate but rather a statement that everyone forgot in the wine industry.
Palate is unique to a person, everybody has a different palate and by consequence everybody has a differente experience while tasting wine, subjectivity is the key word. For instance, someone will taste apple in a wine while someone else will taste pear.
Knowing this, no one should be afraid of tasting wine.
A wine palate is part ability and part experience. The individual’s preferences for and sensitivity to smell and taste elements, along with the memory of their taste history, combine to form the palate
Individual Preference and Cultural Bias
Another influence on taste besides individual physiology and ability is individual psychology and preference. Culture and upbringing provide sensory experiences that certainly influence adult taste preferences.
Americans raised in the last half of the 20th Century typically drank milk, or increasingly soft drinks, sweet and sometimes carbonated, as mealtime beverages. The longtime adage of wine marketers has been that “Americans talk dry but drink sweet”. Each culture has a similar taste bias. Coca-Cola employs 200 global research and development staff, two dozen of them specialists in flavor development to pinpoint local taste preferences and adjust their product formula to local conformity. They have found that Germans like spicy, Mexicans like citric and Italians want a little bitterness. These cultural flavor preferences may also dictate wine choices to some degree.
Taste is personal, born of ability, raised by experience, educated by curiosity, based on pleasure and enjoyment, and should remain relatively free and independent, but also respectful of other tasters’ judgments.