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

Himbertscha

Himbertscha is one of the rare indigenous white varieties from Haut-Valais, mostly at home in the vineyards of Visperterminen (Upper Valais). The name Himbertscha is said to come from a raspberry (himbeer in German) taste of the wine himbeerartigen. Jose-Marie Chanton who specializes in cultivating the old vines from Wallis makes this wine available under the quality label “Brantignon”. He also cultivates the Himbertscharebe, another “rediscovered” old Walliser white wine.

Bernarda

An old vine, but you won’t find it for sale anymore. However it’s being experimented with by Jean Nicollier (I’m searching for more references). The Bernarda is a Prié blanc from the Val d’Aosta that may have come into Switzerland over the St. Bernhard pass, and hence the name.

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

Alcohol, if taken in sufficient quantities, can give one the illusion of drunkenness.

Oscar Wilde

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