Related to green living as it includes energy alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. The main drive behind alternative energy is to find renewable, eco-friendly sources of energy like solar or wind power.
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is one measure of the health of ecosystems
The variability among organisms on Earth and within an ecosystem. Maintaining biodiversity is necessary to preserve the health and survival of an ecosystem.
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, and animals as a self-nourishing system maintained without external inputs insofar as this is possible given the loss of nutrients due to the export of food.
Living or recently-dead organic material that can be used as an energy source, excludes organic material that has been transformed by geological processes (such as coal or petroleum).
A fungus that infects grapes, causing them to rot. Scientific name Botrytis cinerea. If it attacks unripe or damaged grapes, it is a disaster. But this particular cloud has a silver lining. In certain wine regions, notably Sauternes in Bordeaux, Vouvray, Bonnezeaux and Coteaux du Layon of the Loire, Tokay in Hungary, Burgenland in Austria and various regions of Germany, Botrytis attacks ripe, healthy white grapes, causing them to shrivel. These disgusting, mouldy looking grapes yield small quantities of extremely concentrated juice that is then used to make sublime sweet white wines of great complexity and longevity. This benevolent form of Botrytis is also known as noble rot in English, pourriture noble in French and Edelfäule in German. What sort of flavours should you expect in a botrytized wine? There is often the tang of thick-cut marmalade, together with apricot-like flavours. The texture will be rich and viscous, and although the wine will be sweet, in good examples there will also be plenty of acidity to give balance.
A wine-buff term for the smell of a wine. Some old-school tasters reserve use of this term for the special aromas that develop with bottle age.
French word meaning “bone dry” in Champagne. Not really used for other wines.
Taste term for the rich, creamy characters often found in barrel-fermented Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation.
The total amount of greenhouse gases emitted directly or indirectly through an activity, or from a product, company or person, typically expressed in equivalent tons of either carbon or carbon dioxide.
Process widely used in Beaujolais where uncrushed grapes are allowed to begin fermentation in a protective atmosphere of CO2. The largely intact grapes begin fermenting inside their own skins, which produces light, fruity reds for early drinking.
This term effectively means net zero carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Achieving carbon neutrality means measuring the carbon emissions for an identified product, service or company, then balancing those emissions with carbon reductions or carbon offsets to reach net zero carbon emissions.
Wine is fragile and needs to be treated with care. Wise counsel suggests it should be kept away from high temperatures, direct light, large temperature swings and vibration, although there’s a lack of scientific evidence about how these different environmental conditions affect wine and precisely which the critical parameters are. Humidity is also thought to be important to stop the cork drying out.
Old-fashioned English term for red wines from the Bordeaux region.
A wine which doesn’t have any off-flavors or taints is called ‘clean’. Most wines on the market these days are “clean.”
A wine that doesn’t smell much. Many fine wines go through a ‘closed’ or ‘dumb’ period as part of their development.
Wine contaminated by the chemical “trichloroanisole” (TCA). The human nose is extremely sensitive to this contaminant (it can be detected at concentrations as low as parts per trillion), which is a result of a chemical reaction between chlorine and cork. It is a major problem, spoiling between 2% and 7% of all wines. This is why artificial corks are increasingly being used, especially on inexpensive wines not destined for aging. The degree of cork-taint can vary, but you’ll find that almost all retailers will replace a corked bottle without question if you return it.
The process of utilizing a recycled product in the manufacturing of a similar product or the re-manufacturing of the same product.
A design philosophy put forth by architect William McDonough that considers the life-cycle of a material or product. Cradle-to-Cradle design models human industry on nature’s processes, in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy metabolisms.
From the Latin cultura meaning “to cultivate”. Most commonly used in three basic ways:
-Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities
-An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior
-The set of attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution, organization or group
The reduction of mass in a product that does not diminish quality or intended service for the consumer.
Interface’s quantification of the company’s environmental performance over time. Ecometrics measures materials and energy inputs and outputs for use in benchmarking and monitoring environmental progress.
A place having unique physical features, encompassing air, water, and land, and habitats supporting plant and animal life, including humans.
Literally, the “bringing up” or “raising” of a wine, a French term that can encompass making, maturing and bottling a wine.
The amount of dissolved solid material in a wine. A term reserved for red wines. In tasting, a concentrated red, with a big structure might be described as “highly extracted” – wines so dense you could eat them with a spoon.
Fair trade includes sustainable, environmentally sound agricultural practices, just like green living, and focuses specifically on fair labor practices and fair prices for farmer’s crops across national borders.
Yeasts eat up sugar in grape juice and excrete alcohol. This is called fermentation, and without it all wine would be sweet and alcohol-free. Just like grape juice.
The removal of suspended solid particles in a wine by passing it through a filter. Opponents to filtration claim that it strips out some of the flavor, and marketing people consequently use the term “unfiltered” to help sell wines that haven’t been treated in this way.
A process used to remove suspended solids from a wine in order to make it “clear.” Fining agents include dried blood, casein, clay and egg whites. As you can guess, some of these substances can cause problems for vegetarian or vegan wine drinkers.
The finish of a wine is the sense and perception of a wine after swallowing. For example, a finish can be alcoholic, bitter, hot, dry, acidic, short or long.
A mineral character associated with wines from grapes grown in limestone, such as French Chablis and Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs (specifically Sancerre).
Green building, a subset of green living, is the practice of using eco-friendly building materials and designing homes and offices to be more energy efficient.
Green living is an attempt to carry out your life in an eco-friendly, environmentally responsible manner, an attempt to minimize the size of your ecological footprint. Green living concerns itself with a range of topics and practices including conservation of resources, recycling, sustainability, green construction, alternative energy, organic food choices, and other environmental topics.
Another name for a small oak barrel, used to ferment or mature wines in.
Wines that taste of baked, cooked or stewed fruit. This usually happens when grapes have been grown in areas which are too warm for that particular variety.
An enormous bottle holding 4.5 litres in Bordeaux (equivalent to six normal bottles) or 3 litres in Champagne (four bottles worth).
Grapes harvested later than normal, thus containing a higher sugar level. The wine will probably be quite sweet, although in some cases may have been fermented to dryness, in which case the potential alcohol will be higher. The French term for this is “vendange tardive,” in German it is “spätlese.”
When cellaring wine, it refers to the practice of storing bottles on their sides in order to keep the corks moist.
Tasting term referring to a wine with high acidity and not much fruit.
LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
A green building rating system encouraging and accelerating global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of environmental tools and performance criteria.
Sediment at the bottom of a fermentation or ageing vessel, consisting of dead yeast cells, grape skin fragments and other insoluble material, and if the wine is left on the lees for a while, it can encourage malolactic fermentation and add complexity to a wine. There are two sorts of lees. The initial gunk that is deposited is quite crude and is called the gross lees. The wine is usually racked off this into a fresh container, in which it will deposit what are known as fine lees. You don’t want to leave a wine on its gross lees for very long as this may result in the dead yeast cells dissolving themselves, producing a reductive environment in which any sulphur traces will result in the development of hydrogen sulphide, which smells of rotten eggs.
A snazzy winemaking trick in which the sediment at the bottom of a barrel is agitated with a stick (hence the French term for this, bâttonage). This is commonly reserved for barrel-fermented, white wines and can add a creamy richness and complexity to the wine.
Red winemaking process in which tannins, pigments and flavor compounds are released from the grape skins in the fermentation vessel. Fermentation is usually completed quickly with red wines, so winemakers leave the wine in contact with the skins longer; this is known as extended maceration and results in deeper colored wines. Cold maceration is when the grape skins and juice are held at low temperature. The theory is that this results in the extraction of a better class of molecules from the skins. The deeper color and enhanced structure that results from extended maceration must be weighed against the risk of extracting bitter or unpleasant compounds from the skin.
An acid found in high concentrations in unripe grapes. It has a tart, sharp flavor.
The conversion of the tart, sharp malic acid into the softer, less harsh lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria, which takes place after alcoholic fermentation. An important winemaking decision in the production of white wines is whether to allow this to take place, and if so, to what degree.
The solid remains left after pressing grapes, which is also used to describe the spirit made from distilling this.
Large bottle holding six litres of Champagne (eight bottles).
A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine when held in the mouth.
The agricultural practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area. It is widely used in modern industrial agriculture and its implementation has allowed for large harvests from minimal labor. However, monocultures can lead to the quicker spread of diseases, where as a uniform crop is susceptible to a pathogen.
The mixture of grape juice, stems, pips and skins, and in some cases dead insects, bits of leaves and other bits, that comes out of the grape crusher.
Infected (botrytized) bunches of grapes that yield small quantities of concentrated juice that produces some of the world’s most complex, sublime and long-lived sweet white wines. You can expect the tang of thick-cut marmalade and apricots. The texture will be rich and viscous, and although the wine will be sweet, in good examples there will also be plenty of acidity to give balance. Because of the risk associated with producing these wines and the low yields involved, these wines are invariably expensive.
Term for the smell, aroma or bouquet of a wine. Actually, your nose will tell you more about a wine than your tongue!
The exposure of a wine to oxygen, which eventually turns the alcohol to acetic acid, resulting in vinegar. A mildly oxidized red wine will have a brownish color, with high volatile acidity. A mildly oxidized white wine will have a deep yellow/gold color and flavors of butterscotch and coffee, perhaps also with some volatility on the nose. The most common cause of oxidation is cork failure, letting air into the wine, although white wines intended for early consumption that have been cellared for too long will also display these characters to varying degrees.
Organic food, attractive to many proponents of green living, is food that was grown or raised with no or limited use of traditional pesticides, herbicides, and growth hormones. Regulations vary; read the package.
A device used to squeeze juice out of grapes.
A fundamental winemaking operation in which the clear wine is separated from the accumulated sediment at the bottom of a barrel or fermentation vessel.
Strictly speaking, renewable energy is energy that is replenished at the same rate it’s used. As the center of green living, renewable energy encourages use of solar, wind, and other alternative forms of energy.
Due to the consequences of the deadly root disease phylloxera, most vines in commercial vineyards are now grafted onto a suitable American variety (these are resistant to phylloxera). The precise choice of rootstock is a critical viticultural decision, as they all have different properties.
A taste term. A less extreme variant of green.
French term for “dry,” as in the opposite of sweet.
A fortified wine from Jerez, in southern Spain. It comes in many different styles, most of which are dry. Fino is fresh and tangy and needs drinking as soon as it is opened – and ideal match for tapas. Amontillado styles are richer and nuttier, and Oloroso is darker with complex raisiny, nutty flavours. Pedro Ximenez is the sweetest style: rich and viscous with immense raisiny sweetness.
A tasting term that is a close relative of sappy and green, usually used to describe young, raw red wines.
A popular tasting term for the elements of a wine that confer longevity, mainly tannins and acidity. Most Bordeaux style reds will have in their youth a structure mainly comprised of tannins from the oak they were matured in.
Prevent oxidation and bacteria from running wild in wine. They are a natural byproduct of fermentation, meaning that virtually all wine contain minimal amounts of sulfites. The addition of sulfites is most often thought to be required to preserve wine for aging, and to prevent spoilage.
The legal maximum of sulfites allowed to be added to wine is 350 parts per million. Most ConsciousWine has somewhere between 25 and 100 ppm. Occasionally a wine with no added sulfites with fit the 4 Principles of ConsciousWine.
Sustainability, central to green living, is about preserving the environment and natural resources for years to come. It is the process of maintaining a small ecological footprint so that one’s life has no permanent detrimental effect on the earth. There are specific fields within it like sustainable architecture, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable development.
Sustainability includes agriculture, economics and worker relations. The bottom line is all about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. A holistic approach is at the heart of a sustainable approach.
Collective name for a bitter, astringent group of chemicals that are found in skins, pips and stems of grapes, and also in the oak barrels that are commonly used to age wine in. The bitter, tongue curling, tooth-coating, drying sensation you get is from wine comes from the tannins. Tannins are a vital component of red wines. They contribute structure, which in turn facilitates ageing and thus the development of the complexity that comes from long-term cellaring. And without tannins to counter the fruit, most red wines would taste flabby and unbalanced.
The most important grape-derived acid in wine. Sometimes you’ll find little crystals at the bottom of a bottle of wine: these are crystals of tartarate salts, and they are harmless and flavorless. Uninformed consumers worry when they find these in their wine, many producers subject wine to low temperatures before bottling (a process called cold stabilization) to precipitate the tartarates out.
A French term which refers to the site-specific differences in wines that are caused by factors such as soil types, drainage, local microclimate and sun exposure.
The loss of wine from the bottle with time – the gap between the cork and the surface of the wine.
A tell-tale sign that new oak (and in particular American oak) has been used at some stage in the wine making process.
A wine named after the single grape variety it was made from. This consumer-friendly practice began in earnest in the USA in the 1950s and is now so popular that the majority of wines from the new world now have the grape variety on the label.
Tasting term used for wines that are thick, heavy-textured and concentrated. Sweet wines made from grapes that have been affected by noble rot are commonly viscous.
Describing a wine with an unpleasant, vinegar-like nose, caused by acetic acid, a volatile acid that is a result of the oxidation of alcohol. Known in the trade as simply VA. All wines have a tiny bit, but too much and the wine has to go.
A device for extracting juice from crushed grapes.
A necessary microorganism which eats the sugar in grape juice and excrete alcohol and carbon dioxide as waste products. The selection of the appropriate yeast strain, or the decision to allow fermentation to occur with the wild strains of yeast that live on the grape skins, is an important choice in winemaking.