Swiss Wine Regions

Glossary of V

Varietal

Wines made from a single grape variety.

Vegetal

Smells and tastes in wine that are reminiscent of plants and vegetables (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which exhibits these qualities that are part of the varietal character).

Velvety

Having rich flavor and a smooth, soft texture.

Vermouth

A fortified wine that has been flavoured with as many as 40 herbs and spices.

Vertical and horizontal wine tasting

In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type of wine from the one winery are tasted. This emphasizes differences between vintages. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries. Keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.

Vigneron

French for vine grower.

Vigorous

In wine, a lively taste or feel.

Vigour

A vine’s growth rate.

Vinegar

A sour-tasting, highly acidic (acetic acid), liquid made from the oxidation of ethanol in wine, cider, beer, fermented fruit juice, or nearly any other liquid containing alcohol.

Vineyard

A place where grape vines are grown for wine making purposes.

Vinho verde

An effervescent white wine produced in Portugal.

Viniculture

The art and science of making wine. Also called enology (or oenology). Not to be confused with viticulture.

Vinification

The process of making grape juice into wine.

Vinosity

Wine-tasting term pertaining to the alcoholic strength of a wine and its grape character.

Vintage

The year in which a particular wine’s grapes were harvested. When a vintage year is indicated on a label, it signifies that a minimum percentage of the grapes used to make the wine in the bottle were harvested in that year. Applicable regulatory bodies set the minimum percentage.

Vintner

Winemaker, wine producer or winery proprietor.

Viscous

Thick appearance in wine showing the presence of glycerol.

Viticulture

Viticulture is the study or cultivations or grapes and grapevines. Also called viniculture.

Vitis labrusca

A grape native to North America. It is this root stock that saved the European vine from phylloxera. See also foxy

Vitis Vinifera

The botanical name for the native European grapevine from which most of the world’s quality wine is made.

Volatile

A wine affected by the presence of acetic acid is said to be volatile, or to have volatile acidity (v.a.). In small amounts, this can contribute to complexity, but in excess it gives wine a slightly sour, vinegary edge.

Volatile acidity

The level of acetic acid present within a wine.

Glossary by Letter

  • A (21)
  • B (36)
  • C (38)
  • D (17)
  • E (8)
  • F (24)
  • G (5)
  • H (7)
  • I (4)
  • J (2)
  • K (1)
  • L (10)
  • M (25)
  • N (5)
  • O (10)
  • P (23)
  • Q (1)
  • R (13)
  • S (31)
  • T (21)
  • U (2)
  • V (22)
  • W (11)
  • Y (2)
  • Z (1)

The Wine Grapes of Switzerland

Nobling

Nobling is a cross between Silvaner and Chassalas from Staatliches Weinbauinstitut at Freiburg. It’s being tested in Valais and can be found in retail.

Johannisberg

Second in white wines of Valais (after Fendant). The name Johannisberg is only used in Valais; the rest of French-speaking Switzerland call it Gros Rhin. The grape used to make Johannisberg is the Grüner Sylvaner. The origin of the grape is not clear. On the one hand it strongly resembles the Roman Apianisien (loved by bees) grape, as described by Pliny the Elder in his “Historia naturalis”, on the other hand, its more likely birthplace is in Romanian Transylvania.

Gouais Blanc

A promiscuous grape. Not good for much, but with a long, long line of descendents, including the noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Possibly from Croatia, it’s called Heunisch Weiss in Central Europe.

The name Gouais is comes from ‘gou’, which is a scornful word from old French referring to its standing as the grape of the peasants. Very prevalent in the Ile-de-France and in the Champagne during the Middle Ages and perhaps brought into Valais by the descendants of the Ligurians.

Acidic and with little residual sugar, it’s primarily used to blend with low acidic wine to give it a bit of liveliness. Ampelographic studies in the old vineyards of Oberwallis have found a red Gwäss with the same characteristics as the white Gwäss. Almost abandoned, it survives in Haut-Valais hiding under the alias of Gwäss, thanks to Mr. Josef-Marie Chanton, http://www.chanton.ch/home.html

Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep well and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved.

Medieval German Saying

Swiss Alps, cows, wine bottle and large clock face in Bern, Switzerland

Fine Swiss Wine

Discover Switzerland’s odd grapes, small producers, and eclectic tastes