Share

Muselet

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.

Share

Certified California Sustainable

 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.

Share

Crémant

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.

Share

Scion

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.

Share

Veraison

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.

Share

Missoula Floods

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.

Share

Chaptalization

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.

Share

Bouchon

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.

Share

Smaragd

This Austrian term is used only in the Wachau region of Lower Austria for the ripest grapes and, hence, for the fullest-bodied wines. Smaragd (pronounced smar-AHGD) wines must have a minimum of 12.5 percent alcohol, but most have considerably more. The word smaragd is also the name of a bright green lizard that suns itself in the Wachau vineyards.29

Share

Ampelography

The science of identifying and classifying grapevines according to their physical properties, such as the size, shape, and contours of their leaves, petioles, shoots, and grape clusters, as well as the color, size, seed content, and flavor of their grapes. French scientist Pierre Galet introduced modern ampelography in the 1950s and it remained the main system for identifying grapevines until the advent of DNA typing in the 1990s.