Wine Dictionary V to X

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Varietal: Refers to a wine labeled with a single grape variety.

Variety: A variety refers to the grape itself, whereas the term Varietal refers to the wine made from that grape variety.

Vegetal: Describes characteristics of fresh or cooked vegetables detected on the nose and in the flavors of the wine, like bell peppers, grass, and asparagus.

Velvety: Having rich flavor and a silky, sumptuous texture.

Vendange: The French term for harvest.

Vendange Tardive: The French term for late harvest; also, a dessert wine classification used primarily in France’s Alsace region.

Vendimia: The Spanish term for harvest. Can also be used as a word for Vintage.

Veneto: A large wine-producing region in northern Italy.

Veraison: Occurs in late summer or early fall, when grapes start to lose their green color and take on mature hues, which can range from greenish yellow to red to almost black, depending on the variety.

Vertical Tasting: A tasting spanning multiple vintages of a single category of wine, usually a specific cuvée from one producer.

Vieille Vigne: The French term for Old Vine.

Vigneron: The French term for a grape grower or winemaker.

Vin de Pays: French quality classification meaning country wine; it is one level above Vin de Table.

Vin de Table: See Table Wine.

Vin Santo: Sweet wine from Tuscany made from late-harvest Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes.

Vine Spacing: The distance between vines in a vineyard.

Vine Training: The process of shaping the vine’s permanent wood

Viniculture: The science or study of grape production for wine and the making of wine.

Vinification: Loosely synonymous with “winemaking,” the act of creating wine from grapes, beginning with the crushing of grapes at harvest and ending when the fermented juice is barreled.

Vinify: The act of Vinification, or creating wine from grapes.

Vino da Tavola: Italy’s quality category equivalent to Table Wine.

Vino de la Mesa: Spain’s quality category equivalent to Table Wine.

Vino de la Tierra: One of Spain’s quality categories; wines produced in a specific region; an average level of quality.

Vino de Pago: The highest classification of wine in Spain, requiring that wines be made entirely from estate-grown grapes in addition to the requirements of the Denominatión de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca.) classification.

Vino Joven: One of Spain’s quality categories; green or young wine meant to be drunk as soon as it is bottled.

Vinology: The scientific study of wines and winemaking.

Vinous: Literally means winelike and is usually applied to dull wines lacking in distinct varietal character.

Vintage: Indicates the year in which the grapes were grown.

Vinted By: A largely meaningless phrase that means the winery purchased the wine in bulk from another winery and bottled it.

Vintner: Translates as wine merchant, but generally indicates a wine producer or winery proprietor.

Vintner-grown: Means wine from a winery-owned vineyard situated outside the winery’s delimited viticultural area.

Viognier: A fragrant, powerful white grape grown in the Rhône Valley of France and elsewhere.

Viscous: Describes full-bodied, thick, rich wines.

Viticultural Area: Defines a legal grape-growing area distinguished by geographical features, climate, soil, elevation, history and other definable boundaries.

Viticulture: The science and business of wine grapes.

Vitis Aestivalis: A hardy grape native to North America, hybrids of Vitis Aestivalis are sometimes used for winemaking, the most prominent of which is the Norton grape.

Vitis Labrusca: The species of grape native to the eastern U.S. that includes the Concord and Catawba varieties.

Vitis Riparia: A hardy grape native to North America, Vitis Riparia is one of the Phylloxera-resistant rootstocks used with Vitis Vinifera grape varieties.

Vitis Vinifera: Classic European winemaking species of grape. Examples include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and most of the famous varieties grown around the world.

Volatile/Volatile Acidity (VA):  Describes an excessive and undesirable amount of acidity, which gives a wine a slightly sour, vinegary edge.

Vosges Oak: Tight-grained French oak from the Vosges Mountains in Alsace used to make wine barrels.


Weather: Temperature, precipitation, and sunshine hours associated with specific events such as a hailstorm. In contrast, Climate refers to long-term patterns.

Weight: Similar to Body, the sensation when a wine feels thick or rich on the palate.

Wine: Fermented juice from grapes.

Winemaking: Largely synonymous with Vinification, the process by which harvested grapes are crushed, fermented (and otherwise manipulated through yeast inoculations, temperature control, punch-downs, pump-overs, racking, oak-chip additions, filtering, etc.), aged in barrel, steel tank or other vessel, and finally bottled.