A capsule is the molded plastic, bimetal, or aluminum sheath that fits over the cork and top part of the neck of a wine bottle. Historically, capsules were made of lead to keep animals and bugs away from the cork. However, in the 1990s, lead was banned because of potential health risks.
The difference in temperature from the coolest point in the morning to the warmest point in the afternoon. A large difference between these two temperatures is ideal for wine growing regions as it allows the sugars to ripen during the heat of the day while the natural acids are preserved thanks to the coolness of the night. In regions such as central Spain, Napa Valley, California, and Mendoza, Argentina, the daily diurnal temperature fluctuation can be as much as 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meaning “muzzle” in English, a muselet (pronounced MOOSE-eh-lay) is the wire cage that holds a Champagne or sparkling wine cork firmly in place on the neck of the bottle. The muzzle is important when it comes to safety. Even though most people quickly remove it first, the muselet should actually not be removed before the cork is eased out. Rather, it should be removed with the cork at the same time.
A Certified California Sustainable winery or vineyard must satisfy 95 eco-friendly criteria including, energy and water conservation, wildlife habitat protection, natural pest management, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and avoid pesticides and herbicides. Currently, there are a total of 132 California wineries and over 1,160 vineyards who have earned this logo.
The word crémant is used to describe a French sparkling wine that is made outside the Champagne district but made according to the Champagne method of secondary (bubble-causing) fermentation inside each individual bottle. Crémants come from all over France; some of the best known include Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Loire, and Crémant de Limoux. Crémants are rarely as expensive as Champagne. In summer, chilled cold, they are refreshing and fun.
Most vines are composed of two parts: the part above ground, the scion (SIGH-on) and the part that’s mostly below ground, the rootstock. The scion is grafted onto the rootstock. The scion is a particular grape variety. So a scion could be cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay or a thousand other varieties, for example.
Veraison (ver-AY-zhun) is happening right now all over California. It’s the time in a vine’s growing cycle when grape berries begin to soften and change color. “White” grapes go from green to yellowish, and red grapes go from green to dark red or purple. Veraison is important to winemakers because it signals the onset of final ripening before harvest.
During the Last Ice Age, the repeated episodic freezing and melting of glaciers near Lake Missoula in western Montana resulted in an estimated 25 cataclysmic floods from ruptured ice dams. The massively destructive floods, which came to be known as the Missoula Floods, carved out huge swaths of the Pacific Northwest, including Washington’s vast Columbia Valley now the state’s largest wine growing region at 11 million acres.
The addition of cane or beet sugar to wine must before or during fermentation to increase the total amount of sugar and therefore raise the final alcohol content. Chaptalization is legal and widely practiced in many cooler northern European wine regions, where cool years can lead to grapes that aren’t fully ripe and, in turn, to wines that are thin and lacking in body. By increasing the alcohol content of such wines, the winemaker can make them a bit more full bodied and make them seem a bit more substantial.
A type of restaurant in Lyon, France, known for serving traditional Lyonnaise dishes, which are often rich and hearty. The goal of a bouchon is not haute cuisine but a friendly and personal atmosphere. There are about 20 certified bouchons in Lyon, although many more proclaim themselves to be. A bouchon also refers to a stopper for a wine bottle, most often a sparkling wine or Champagne, as it prevents the bubbles from escaping.