Have you ever wished that you could speak wine like a pro? It would be much more fun to casually chat about the differences between Burgundy and Beaujolais than just fake it. This article will demystify some of the most common terms used when talking about wine. We’ll look at how these terms are used in conjunction with one another and what they mean in regards to your favorite beverage.

So, grab your favourite glass of Chardonnay or Merlot, sit back, and get ready to explore some wine-related terms to talk about it.

1. Tannins

Tannins are a class of polyphenols found in grapes’ skins, seeds, and stems. When you drink wine, you’re consuming tannins (in addition to alcohol). In fact, tannins give the wine its structure and body—they’re what make red wines age well so that they can be enjoyed for decades or even centuries.

White wines also contain tannins but not nearly as much as their red counterparts; when it comes to white wines, these bitter compounds help add a crisp finish and clean flavor profile on top of producing their own unique taste profiles.

2. Oak

Oak is a type of wood that can be used to age wine. Most wines are aged in oak barrels, but some bottles are sealed with wax or cork, so they don’t need to be exposed to oxygen. Just like other trees, oaks produce a variety of compounds that add flavor and tannin (which gives wine body) when they’re used to age wine.

If you want to learn more about which varietals go well with different types of oak barrels, check out this article by Wine Folly!

3. Aging

Aging is the process of letting wine age in barrels, bottles, or tanks. It’s a process that takes time and one that can be done at home or at a winery.

When you’re aging your own wine, it’s important to keep conditions constant so you get an idea of how your wines will age over time, as each bottle has its own potential for results.

4. Provenance

A wine’s provenance is the location of its grapes and where the wine was produced. For example, a California Cabernet Sauvignon has a provenance that includes both California and Napa Valley.

In addition to this origin information, you’ll also see other details such as the vintage year or classification type on bottles of great wine online.

5. Vineyard Designation

Vineyard designation is the most important geographical indication used in the wine. It tells you where the grapes were grown and can be a region, town, or specific vineyard.

The most common designations are AOC and DOC, which appear on bottles of French wines. AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (“designation of origin under control”) and DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (“controlled denomination of origin”).


We hope this list has helped you understand some of the most commonly used wine terms. If you want to learn more about the nuances of how each term affects your wine tasting experience, feel free to read up on them in our other blog posts!