Glossary: V

Varietal  
A term denoting “variety” or grape type, often used in the wine community but very rarely encountered otherwise. 

Vat  
A big container for fermenting, ageing or storing wine in.

 

Verdelho  
A grape variety found in Portugal, and sparingly in other parts of Europe.   

 

Vendange
The term for harvest in France.

 

Vendange tardive
The term for late harvest in France, a practice found in many sweet wines and a select few dry wines around the world.  

 

Véraison

A viticulture term for the period of time when the grape begins to turn color on the vine.

 

Vin clair
The “base wine” of Champagne, before the bubbles are created from the second fermentation.  

 

Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS)
A classification system that is now mostly defunct in France.

 

Vin doux naturel
A winemaking term for a wine that has had neutral grape spirit added to it during fermentation to arrest (stop) the fermentation before all of the sugar has been turned into alcohol.  

 

Vin gris
A term for a very pale rose, which can appear almost gray in the glass.

 

Vihno Licoroso

Fortified wine from Portugal.

 

Vintage
Refers to the year the grapes were harvested.

 

Vitis labrusca
A species of grape more known for table grapes, jelly and jam.

 

Vitis vinifera
Out of all of the different species of grapes, this one is the most commercially significant. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir all belong to this family, as well as all the fine wine grapes that command higher prices.

 

Vieilles vignes  
A French term for “old vines”, denoting a vine that has been producing fruit for a sustained period of time.

 

Vinification  
A term for winemaking, specifically the science behind the process.

Vino de la Tierra

A term for “country wines” in Spain, which is usually a bulk or lower quality product.

 

Vino de Mesa

A term for “table wine” in Spain. Usually of low to moderate quality, when in country, these wines can be pleasant and sometimes very well made.

 

Viscosity
A wine tasting term that describes the weight of the wine on the palate or the apparent thickness (or lack thereof) of the liquid in the glass.  

 

Volatile acidity
Wine contains many different types of acids, some of which have detrimental impacts on the finished wine. Volatile acidity, also know simply as VA, can resemble acetone if levels are too high, but add an interesting dimension to some wines that are typical to these aromas and flavors.