Ten Wine Terms that will Impress at Your Next Dinner Party

Young women preparing a table for an outdoor dinner party

Hosting a dinner party soon? Apart from fabulous food and tasty wines, it’s always good to have a few topics in mind for conversation.

Here are ten wine terms that will not only impress, but also make for some great discussion at your next dinner party.

Even if you’re not having a party, check out the terms below, because it’s always good to be in the know!

1. Skin Contact

Did you know that nearly all grapes produce clear juice? It’s the skin that does all the work when it comes to coloring. They also contribute to flavor.

Skin contact is the winemaking process of soaking the grape skins in the juice until reaching the desired color. Think of it like steeping your tea. The longer you keep the bag in the hot water, the darker and more flavorful the tea becomes. Sometimes winemakers even leave the skins in contact during fermentation for richer coloring and mouth structure.

2. Orange Wines

Speaking of skin contact, orange wines have nothing to do with oranges, and everything to do with skins.

Made with white varieties, orange wines are fermented or macerated with the skins in a natural winemaking process. The outcome is an orange-ish hue wine with tannins and slight oxidation. Not a new process at all, but just recently regaining some popularity among wine adventurers.



3. Natural Wines

Another trendy type of wine currently on the scene. Natural wines are exactly that: natural.
The winemaking process is quite hands off, letting nature lead as the grapes turn to wine. This is nothing new, rather getting back to the basics. This is how wine was first made so many thousands of years ago. Meant to express pure origin, natural wines are rustic and truly unique.

4. Typicity

This term is used to talk about how well a wine reflects its variety. Not origin or winemaking techniques, just the grape itself.

A Cabernet Sauvignon with good typicity means its undeniably a Cabernet Sauvignon, showing black fruits, spice and violet with noticeable tannins and acidity and high alcohol.

This idea is used often when judging several wines from the same variety are being compared.

5. Balance

Harmony. When a wine is balanced, it’s as if the stars have aligned. Not one characteristic outshines the other; acidity, tannins, sweetness, fruit and alcohol are at peace with one another, working together to show each aspect’s best attributes.

6. Minerality

Perhaps one of the wine world’s most widely discussed terms. And no one can agree on just what it means.
It’s often used to reference characteristics like wet stone, salinity and flintines. Others consider it to be more in line with sulphur or fuel-like compositions. Lastly, some use it when referring to the soil’s minerals. Are those actually transferred to something we can smell and taste? That’s for you to decide.



7. GSM

An acronym that has become a beloved term that represents southern Rhône’s holy trinity: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Yes, this blend is divine. As the percentages vary, there is no one taste profile, but overall, the three get along wonderfully.

8. Finish

Perhaps the most telling characteristic of quality, the finish is your last impression of a wine. It refers to the length of pleasant sensations in your mouth after you swallow. Finishes can be bitter and short or long and delightful. Guess which is better and therefore indicates a higher quality wine?

9. Corked

A wine term you only hope to know about but not experience. It represents a defect, where the cork has tainted the wine inside a bottle.

Characteristics will be unpleasant, such as musty, moldy flavors and aromas with a very dry aftertaste.

10. zzysh®

The newest wine term in wine preservation that’s turning heads. Swiss craftsmanship and innovation that will make opened bottles stay fresh for months. Using an argon gas preservation method, you can zzysh® your wines and forget until you’re ready to savor another glass. Unlike other devices that use this technology, zzysh® is actually affordable and can go wherever you go.


Now go on and impress!