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Term Definition
Ullage

Over time, especially when a wine is not stored correctly (see our 'How to store wine' section in Tools), wine evaporates from the bottle. This is visible by the level of wine reducing towards the shoulders of the bottle. This process is bad for a number of reasons, but primarily because it means that wine is managing to escape through the bottle's seal and because it means that more oxygen is in the bottle - which is not beneficial to wine (see 'oxidation').

Vendange tardive

See 'Late Harvest'.

Vinification

The process of turning raw grapes into wine.

Vintage

The year when the grapes were picked. Vintages may only be stated on a bottle when the grapes are from a single year. Harvest time in the southern hemisphere is roughly between February and April, whilst the northern hemisphere harvests between August and October. Therefore, a vintage from southern hemisphere is roughtly 6 months older than its northern hemsiphere partner. This can make a difference for wines such as Sauvignon Blanc which benefit from early drinking.

Viognier

Pronounced: Vee-on-yair

White grape that produces full-bodied floral white wines (flavours include apricots, blossom). It needs a warm/hot climate, with the most famous example being grown in Condrieu (Northern Rhône, France). Other excellent examples include California and Australia. It is best drunk young. It is often blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, Syrah/Shiraz.

Viticulture

The process of growing grapes.

Weather

The weather is what happens in a specific year/vintage.

See also 'climate' which is an indication of typical weather in a typical year.

Weingut

A German term meaning 'wine estate'.

Weissburgunder

See Pinot Blanc

Yield

The amount of grapes produced by a vine/vineyard. Although a high yield might seem desirable, a higher yield often results in an inferior wine, with less flavour and complexity. The reason for this is that, rather than concentrating on a smaller number of grapes, a vine is having to share its goodness across more grapes. Think of a vine like a tea-bag: it would be acceptable to make a few cups of tea with just one bag, but you wouldn't want to make 1,000.

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