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Lebanon - Wine Terms



Some Wine Terms

Acidity is what gives wine, and most other drinks, its tang. Lemons have lots of it; potatoes very little.

American hybrid - variety bred from American and European vines.

Ampelography - science of identifying grape varieties by detailed description of the appearance of the vine, especially its leaves

Alcohol is the potent mood-changer that differentiates wine from grape juice. A wine's alcoholic strength is its concentration of alcohol.

Analysis, operation to which almost all modern wine subjected which measures its vital statistics - alcoholic strength, total acidity, residual sugar - and usually much more besides.

Anthocyans, phenolics which most strongly influence a red wine's color, which is directly affected by its pH.

Barrel, the winemaker's most fashionable tool. barrel ageing or barrel maturation -keeping a wine in cask between fermentation and bottling so that it stabilizes naturally in the presence of small amounts of air and also absorbs some flavor and possibly tannins from the wood, depending on its age and size, and duration of barrel ageing.

Canopy - the above-ground parts of the vine, especially its leaves

Clarification, umbrella term for a host of processes designed to ensure wine is crystal clear, including fining, filtration and refrigeration.

Elevage, French term with no direct English equivalent for the wine-maturing processes involved between fermentation and bottling.

Fermentation, the process whereby sweet grape juice is transformed into alcoholic wine, thanks to the action of yeast .

Filtration, controversial clarification process of pumping wine through various different sorts of filter to remove suspended solids. It may also strip out flavor if overdone.

Oxidation, potentially serious calamity that can strike grapes, grape juice and wine if they are over-exposed to oxygen, making them go brown (like a cut apple) and taste flat. Wines suffering from oxidation, sometimes from a less-than-airtight stopper, are oxidized.

pressing, important winemaking operation involving literally pressing the juice (white wines) or astringent press wine out of the skins.

Seed - part of the grape containing tannins. Care is usually taken not to crush them.

Skin - very important part of the grape which contains most flavour compounds, pigments, and tannins - all highly desirable, not to say essential, for red wines but a more debatable ingredient in the white winemaking process

Stabilization, umbrella term for all the winemaking operations designed to stop wines developing a fault in bottle such as a haze, cloud or fizz, no matter what the storage conditions. It is practised most brutally on everyday wines.

Triage, French word for sorting, typically grapes for health and quality in the vineyard or as they are brought in to the winery.

Vieilles vignes - French for 'old vines', which generally produce more concentrated wine than young ones.

Vintage - can mean either the particular year in which the crop was harvested or the process of harvesting itself

Yeast, micro-organisms of many types which can encourage all sorts of chemical changes, including fermentation. Traditional wine producers tend to rely on ambient, invisible yeasts whereas modernists prefer specially cultured yeasts chosen for their suitability for a particular fermentation.





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