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A - Z of some popular wine terminology.

Acidity: The level of acidity in wine, which gives it a crisp, refreshing taste and helps preserve it.

Additives: Any substance added to wine during the winemaking process, such as tannin, acid, or sugar.

Ageing: The process of storing wine in oak barrels or bottles for a period of time to develop complexity and depth of flavour.

Aromas: The scents and smells present in wine, which can include fruity, floral, and earthy notes.

Autochthonous: Yeast that is naturally present on the grapes and in the winery environment, rather than being added by the winemaker.

Biodynamic: A farming method that emphasises the use of organic and natural techniques, and also incorporates astrological and spiritual elements.

Boutique winery: Small, independent wineries that produce limited quantities of high-quality wine.

Body: The fullness and weight of a wine on the palate, which can range from light-bodied to full-bodied.

Bouquet: The complex combination of aromas and flavours that develops as wine ages.

Brettanomyces: A type of yeast that can cause off-flavours and aromas in wine, such as barnyard or horse blanket.

Carbonic maceration: A fermentation process used to produce light, fruity red wines, where grapes are fermented in a closed vessel filled with carbon dioxide.

Chaptalisation: The process of adding sugar to grape juice before fermentation to increase the alcohol content of the final wine.

Clarity: The clearness and brightness of a wine, indicating that it has been properly filtered and clarified.

Cold stabilisation: The process of chilling wine to remove tartrate crystals that may form in the bottle.

Corked: A wine that has been contaminated by a musty smell and flavour due to a faulty cork.

Cultivar: A cultivated variety of grapevine.

Decanting: The process of pouring wine from a bottle into a decanter to separate it from sediment and allow it to breathe.

Débourbage: The process of removing solid matter, such as grape stems, from the juice before fermentation.

Destemming: The process of removing the stems from grapes before fermentation.

Dry: A wine that is not sweet, but rather has a slight bitterness or astringency.

Enology: The scientific study of winemaking.

Enophile: A wine enthusiast.

Fermentation: The process by which yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Fining: The process of clarifying wine by adding a substance, such as egg whites, to remove impurities.

Finish: The aftertaste and sensation a wine leaves in the mouth after being swallowed.


Fortified: A wine that has had spirits added to it to increase its alcohol content.

Fruity: A wine that has a strong aroma and taste of fruit, such as berries or citrus.

Grafting: The process of attaching a grapevine to a rootstock to improve its resistance to disease.

Grand Cru: A French term used to designate a wine of the highest quality from a specific vineyard or region.

Grape must: The juice, pulp, and skins of grapes before fermentation.

Harvest: The process of picking grapes for use in winemaking.

Irrigation: The process of supplying water to grapes through artificial means.

Lees: The sediment that forms at the bottom of a wine during fermentation.

Low intervention: This refers to the minimal use of chemicals, additives, and manipulation during the winemaking process. Natural wines are often made with low intervention techniques, allowing the grapes and terroir to express themselves.

Malolactic fermentation: The conversion of malic acid to lactic acid by bacteria, which can soften the acidity of a wine.

Microoxygenation: A winemaking technique that involves introducing small amounts of oxygen to a wine to soften tannins and stabilize colour.

Must: The juice, pulp, and skins of grapes before fermentation.

Neutral yeast: A type of yeast that does not impart any specific flavours or aromas to the wine.

No added sulphur: Some natural wines are made without the addition of sulfur dioxide, a common preservative in wine.

Oak ageing: The process of storing wine in oak barrels to impart flavour and complexity.

Orange wine: This term is used to describe a specific style of wine made from white grapes that have been fermented on their skins, giving them an orange or amber colour and a distinct flavour profile.

Organic: A farming method that prohibits the use of synthetic chemicals and pesticides.

Oxidative: A wine-making style where the wine is deliberately exposed to oxygen during the winemaking process, which can lead to brownish color, nutty and dried fruit flavours, but also it can be a wine fault if not controlled properly.

Oenology: The study of wine and winemaking.

Pet-Nat: Short for pétillant naturel, this term refers to a style of sparkling wine made using the ancestral method, where the wine is bottled before fermentation is complete, which results in natural bubbles.

Phylloxera: A small insect that feeds on the roots of grapevines, causing damage and reducing yields. It decimated European root stock in the late 1800’s

Punching down: The process of manually stirring the cap of grapes during fermentation to extract colour and tannins.

Reduction: A wine fault characterised by a sulphur smell and taste that can be caused by poor winemaking practices or storage conditions. Although technically considered a fault when used in the right way reductive winemaking can and some pleasing and intriguing notes.

Residual sugar: The amount of sugar remaining in a wine after fermentation.

Racking: The process of moving wine from one container to another to separate it from sediment.

SO2: An acronym for sulfur dioxide, a compound used as a preservative in wine.

Terroir: The environmental factors, such as soil and climate, that influence the character and flavor of a wine.

Tannin: A compound found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes that gives wine a bitter, astringent taste.

Tank fermentation: The process of fermenting wine in stainless steel tanks instead of barrels.

Unfiltered: WInes that are deliberately not filtered leaving some particles into the wine, which means that they may contain sediment or cloudiness. Not always a bad things as this adds flavour and complexity.

Varietal: A wine made primarily from one type of grape.

Vintage: The year in which the grapes were harvested and made into wine.

Viticulture: The study and practice of grape cultivation.

Vitis Vinifera: The species of grapevine responsible for most wine production.

Wild yeast: Yeast that is naturally present on the grapes and in the winery environment, rather than being added by the winemaker.

Yeast: A microorganism that converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide during fermentation.

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