Glossary: O

Oak  
This is the preferred type of wood to age wine in, as it imparts the right amount of tannin and flavor without being overbearing.  

 

Oechsle

A scale of measurement used by German viticulturists to measure the sugar (more appropriately, specific weight of the grape to gauge the sugar) in grapes and judge the correct harvest time.

 

Old Vines
You'll often find the term “old vines” (vieilles vignes) on wine labels, indicating a grapevine that has been producing fruit for a sustained period of time. Although rarely regulated, this timeframe is usually more than 25 years, with some examples being up to 100 years old.  

 

Olfactory epithelium

A series of nerve endings in the sinus area that assists in detecting aroma and taste. The Olfactory bulb above our sinus cavity is responsible for our enjoyment of the aroma and flavors of different foods and beverages.

 

Oloroso
A term for a style of Sherry, made in the Jerez region of Spain. This is a fortified wine that has oxidative flavors and a rich texture, and contrary to what many believe, it finishes dry. There are “oloroso” wines from odd places that contain sweetness, but they are not to be confused with the oloroso style wines of Jerez.  

 

Orange wine

A style of wine where white grapes are left on their skins (as in red wine production) to gain aroma, flavor and texture. This often imparts oxidation into the wine, and on top of juice gaining tannin, it can turn shades of orange in the bottle.

 

Organic viticulture
A farming system that indicates the reduction and/or elimination of man-made interventions, specifically chemicals and additives. This is a broad definition, as there are many different laws, caveats and idiosyncrasies of organics.

 

Oxidized
A winemaking, tasting or food description of oxygens detrimental effect on an item.