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Wine and winery terminology


  • Fixed acidity: it is the acidity that is not separable from the wine by evaporation, such as tartaric, citric, malic or lactic.
  • Total acidity: it is the sum of the fixed acidity and the volatile acidity.
  • Volatile acidity: fraction of wine acidity represented mainly by acetic acid and its ester, ethyl acetate. In excess, it is a serious defect.
  • Acetic acid: oxidation of ethyl alcohol to acetic acid, which is perceived in the mouth as a flavor reminiscent of vinegar.
  • Citric acid: natural acid of the berry, unstable and that is transformed into various secondary products by the action of various microorganisms.
  • Malic acid: organic acid with a strong taste that is found in must and sometimes also in wine, especially if it comes from incompletely ripened grapes. On the nose, it is reminiscent of the smell of green apples and is found in green grapes and in wines that have not fully undergone malolactic fermentation.
  • Hydrometer: density meter used in oenology that measures Beaumé grams.
  • Ethyl alcohol: or ethanol. Present in the wine due to the alcoholic fermentation of the grape that transforms the sugars in the must into alcohol.
  • Methyl alcohol: methanol prohibited for use in winemaking due to its toxicity.
  • Carbon dioxide: gas resulting from alcoholic fermentation that gives the wine a tingling sensation on the tongue.
  • Sulfurous acid: chemical compound of sulfur and oxygen that, mixed with the wine in the right amount, performs antioxidant, antiseptic, disinfectant and color purifying functions.
  • Anthocyanin: coloring substance (polyphenols) found in the skin of red grapes that, together with other polyphenols, are responsible for the red colors of red wines.
  • Sugar: each of the natural substances that are characterized by their sweet taste and that constitute the basic components of the must or grape juice. The most abundant in the grape are glucose and levulose or fructose. During fermentation, and by the action of the yeasts, they are transformed into ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide and other substances. When this transformation is practically complete, the wine is said to be dry, but it is normal for all wine to have a certain amount of unfermented sugars, called reducing sugars.

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