Vitis Vinifera (for fruit)
Vitis Riparia, Vitis Rupestris, Vitis Berlandieri (for rootstock)
Select specimens of a specific variety are propagated for their favorable characteristics that have emerged through generations of mutations.
Any variety that is grown from seed whose parents were from different vine species. Used for rootstocks, not fruit.
Rootstocks are used because the pest Phylloxera is fatal to Vitis Vinifera, so it is grafted on the resistant non-Vitis roots. Now rootstocks are designed to protect against nematodes, resist drought, adjust to soil salinity levels and even limit Vinifera growth.
New growth a vine produces each year. Along each shoot are regularly-spaced bumps called nodes, where either a leaf and a flower or a leaf and a tendril will form. Buds form where leaf stems join the shoot.
Responsible for photosynthesis, which uses chlorophyll and sunlight to turn water and CO2 into sugar glucose and oxygen.
A twisting, threadlike structure by which a twining plant (vine) grasps an object for support. They wrap around trellis wires to support the vine.
Flowers are the vines reproductive organs, and are hermaphroditic. They group into infloresences, and as each pollinated flower will become a berry, each infloresence will become a bunch of grapes.
Form in the joint between the lead and the shoot, and are embryonic shoots, growing for next year.
One Year Old Wood
Shoots turn woody during the winter after their spring sprout. This wood is pruned into a "cane" (8-15 buds) or a spur (2-3 buds)
Wood older than 1 Year. It is the arms and trunk of the vine, sometimes call Cordons.
Absorb water and nutrients from the soil, anchor the vine and store carbohydrates so wine can survive the winter.
Origin and Number of Wine Varieties
Between 5000 and 10000 type of Vinis Vinifera.
Each variety can be traced to a single original plant, which was propagated through cuttings.
A section taken from a healthy shoot before it becomes woody. It is planted, takes root, and becomes a new plant.
A method of propagation where the root is bent down into the ground. The buried section takes root, and then the cane is cut.
A method of propagation that began in the 1950s, where a single plant with the most favorable characteristics is selected. This reduces genetic variation, which can increase disease risk and insures uniform wine, for better or worse. Also, characteristics which were desirable in the 1950s (high yield) may come at the expense of quality.
A louse brought to Europe in mid-19th Century, weakened the unresistant Vitis Vinifera's roots, exposing it to bacteria and fungi. American vines clog the pest's mouth with sticky sap and form protective layers behind wounds to prevent serious infection. There are serious quarantine procedures in Chile, Argentina and South Australia.
A method of grafting a Vitis Vinifera to a rootstock. Two short canes of equal width are cut from a rootstock and a Vitis Vinifera, spliced together with a machine and allowed to heal in a warm, humid environment until the wounds heal into a callus. Then, roots are trimmed off the Vinifera, the shoots off the rootstock, and it's planted or stored for a year.
A method of grafting a Vitis Vinifera to a rootstock that is used when a Grower wants to change varietals in a single year, instead of three, and it is cheaper than replanting the whole vineyard. The existing vine is cut back, and a the new variety is grafted onto the trunk.
Chardonnay - Basic Description and Origin
Chardonnay takes it's name from a village in the Maconnais, Burgundy. It is a green-skinned grape used to make white wine with generally neutral flavors, so it is often oaked or undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Chardonnay - Characteristics in Different Climates
Cool Climates: Steely, Medium-To-Light Body, High Acidity. Apple, Pear and Plum Notes. Ex: Chardonnay, Chablis (Burgundy)
Moderate Climates: Citrus, Melon and Peach.
Hot Climates: Banana, Mango, Fig. High Alcohol, Low Acidity.
Chardonnay - Importance of Winemaking
Chardonnay does not present lots of fruit character, so winemaking techniques are important. Malolactic fermentation is often used to soften fruit and acidity and give flavors of butter and hazelnut. Oak is often used to give tannin, roasty/nutty flavors. Lees stirring is used to give complexity and body.
Chardonnay - Classic Regions
Burgundy, Champagne (France)
Russian River, Carneros (California)
Adelaide Hills, Geelong, Mornington (Australia)
Gisborne, Marlborough (New Zealand)
Sauvignon Blanc - Characteristics in Different Climates
Cool or Moderate on Poor Soils:
High Acidity. Green, herbaceous flavors of green pepper, grass or
nettles, some fruitiness like passion fruit or elderflower.
Warm or Hot: Peach, Grapefruit.
Sauvignon Blanc - Basic Description and When to Drink
A green-skinned grape for making white wine, it's widely planted in Bourdeaux, The Loire Valley and the New World. A crisp, dry, refreshing white wine, it is best consumed when young and fruity, or it will fade into pea and asparagus flavors.
Riesling - Basic Description
A green-skinned grape that makes a fruity, aromatic white wine that retains high acidity. It ripens late but is very hardy, ideal for late-harvest wines. The wine is heavily reflective of location.
Riesling - Characteristics in Different Climates
Cool: Fresh grape, apple, high Acidity (Mosel)
Warmer: Citrus, Peach, high Acidity (Alsace, Austria, Clare Valley (Australia))
Riesling - Classic Regions
Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau, Pfalz (Germany)
Clare Valley, Eden Valley (Australia)
Not related to Riesling. Is called
Laski Riesling (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia)
Olasz Riesling (Hungary)
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio - Basic Description
The skin can range from blue-gray all the way to brown or white, and it is used to make white wines. Pinot Gris tends to be high in alcohol, full bodied, spicy and low in acidity in Alsace, sometimes showing melon, banana and mango, and is used for botrytitis-affected dessert wines. Pinot Grigio is harvested early to retain acidity, and the wine is light, neutral with medium acidity. Called Rulander or Grauburgunder in Germant.
Viognier - Basic Description
Similar to Chardonnay, but with more fruit character, it requires a warm-to-hot climate to ripen, quickly builds up sugar levels, and gives low yields. This white wine generally has aromas of Peach, Pear and Violet.
Muscat - Basic Definition
A family of varieties that required dry, warm conditions to ripen, are often sparkling or fortified, and have an intense grapey flavor and perfumed notes. Best consumed while youthful, fresh and fruity, unless oak-aged and fortified.
Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains
A variety of Muscat used for Asti, certain Vin Doux Naturels and a version of the Rutherglen Muscat, this grape gives a full and complex spectrum of aromas like Grape, Peach, Rose and Citrus. Oxidative oak again darkens the color and adds Raisin, Fruit Cake Coffee and Toffee notes.
Muscat of Alexandria
A variety of Muscat used for a few Vin Doux Naturels and Spanish Moscatels, this grape tends to smell simply of grapes.
Pinot Noir - Basic Definition
Originally planted in Burgundy, it ripens early, has tight bunches of small berries (prone to rot, reduced by sprays and canopy management), and gives sweet juice. Young Pinot Noir displays Raspberries, Strawberries or Red Cherries, soft/light tannins and is light in color. It ages unpredictably, developing farmyard and vegetal flavors.
Pinot Noir - Classic Regions
Carneros, Sonoma (California)
Walker Bay (South Africa)
Yarra Valley (Australia)
Martinsborough, Marlborough, Central Otago (New Zealand)
Cabernet Sauvignon - Basic Description
Classic Bourdeaux Grape, planted throughout the world. With loose bunches of thick-skinned grapes, it buds late to reduce spring frost damage and is resistant to rot and insects. Yields full-bodied, high tannin, high acid wines. Responds well to oak aging and ages beautifully.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Flavor Profiles by Climate
Moderate: Blackcurrants, notes of green pepper, mint, cedar
Warm: Black Cherry, Black Olive, Eucalyptus
Cabernet Sauvignon - Classic Regions
Medoc, Graves (Bourdeaux)
Coonawara, Margaret River (Australia)
Hawkes Bay (New Zealand)
Other Bourdeaux Grape, frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. Shoes soft tannins and an easy-to-drink character.
Two Styles of Merlot
International Style: Grape is
harvested as late as possible, to maximize intense purple color,
blackberry and plum flavors, velvety tannins, full body and high
alcohol. May be oaked.
Bourdeaux Style: Grape is harvested early, to make a wine with medium body, high acidity, strawberry and raspberry flavors and some vegetal, leafy aromas.
Syrah/Shiraz - Basic Description
Very deep in color, with black fruit and spicy aromas. It can age extremely well. Responsible for the great reds of the Northern Rhone and is the most widely planted variety in Australia.
Syrah/Shiraz - Flavors by Climate
Cool: Will not ripen.
Moderate/Warm: High tannins, Blackberry, Black Pepper, Mint
Hot:Full-bodied, soft tannins, earthy, leathery, licorice
Syrah/Shiraz - Classic Regions
Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cote-Rotie (Northern Rhone)
Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Chateaneuf-du-Pape (Southern Rhone, Blended)
Grenache/Garnacha - Basic Description
With sweet, thin-skinned grapes, it is the most widely planted red variety in it's homeland of Spain and requires hot conditions to ripen fully, and is very drought-tolerant. The wine is high in alcohol, full-bodied, with soft tannins, pale in color and generally shows browning at the rim. Yields red fruit flavors like Strawberry and Raspberry and White Pepper, which ages into Coffee and, Tar and Leather.
Sangiovese: Basic Description
At it's best, this grape produces high acid wines with sour cherry fruits, astringent tannins and earthy, dusty aromas. It produces the greatest Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepucliano, as well as many other Tuscan wines. It can also be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to make Super-Tuscans.
Widely planted throughout Northern Spain and is the country's greatest grape varietal. It ripens early and grows best on chalky soil, but lacks distinctive aromas so is often aged in oak. It shows some flavors or ripe strawberry and plum. A major part of great Riojas as well as the wines of the Ribera Del Duero.