Wine tap at The Urban Grape


We hear it every day at the Urban Grape – I like to drink wine, but it’s SO intimidating, I don’t even know where to start!

Well, start here! We’ve gathered a glossary of common terms, helpful educational videos, and a resource guide to start you on your journey. But the best way to learn about wine is to taste and ask questions, so be sure to join us at our weekly free tastings and other educational events.


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Wine Glossary

    Refers to the smell of the wine as it relates to its varietal fruit character.
    The right proportion of fruit, acid, tannin and varietal character, i.e. harmonious.
    Fermentation of the wine takes place in oak barrels instead of stainless steel tanks, adding richness, complexity, and more oak character.
  • BODY
    The impression of fullness or roundness in the mouth.
    The aromatic scent as expressed by the winemaking process; the combination of varietal fruit character with all the elements of aging wine.
    Rich, oily texture. Usually used when describing Chardonnay.
    Shows an integration of aroma and flavor, often with subtlety; one of the highest compliments to a wine.
    The smell of the wine when it has been spoiled by a bad cork. Typically smells of musty or wet cardboard.
    Second fermentation in which the malic (sour) acid is converted to lactic (softer) acid. It creates a softer, silkier, more approachable wine.
    Exhibits the benefits of aging where all the elements have come together.
  • NOSE
    The combination of aroma and bouquet of the wine.
  • OAKY
    The smell and/or flavor associated with aging wine in small oak barrels. When properly integrated, it is a positive element.
    Soft, balanced mouth feel.
    A compound that forms naturally during fermentation. Winemakers traditionally supplement with minimal amounts to protect fruit quality and prevent oxidation.
    Wine is aged on the spent yeast “lees” (cells) after fermentation, gaining added flavor and complexity.
    The natural components from grape skins and oak contact that make young wines lightly astringent and sometimes bitter. Tannin subsides as part of the aging process and contributes to the wine’s complexity.

Beer Glossary

  • ALE
    One of the two categories of beer, fermented at warm temperatures. Ale yeast contributes aromatic and flavor profiles to beer via chemicals known as esters, released during fermentation
    A process in which live yeast is added to a filled beer bottle. This prolongs the beer's shelf life and allows it to develop more complexity.
    A type of wild yeast used in beer production. Beers made with Brett tend to display funky, barnyard aromas (think old hay, horse blankets, rich earth).
    Any American brewery producing less than 6 million barrels (1 barrel = 31 gallons) annually, which is independently owned and subscribes to "traditional brewing techniques."
    Chemical compounds which are perceived as aroma or flavor. Notable ester profiles include the banana-clove note in hefeweizens or the barnyard note common to wild ales.
  • HOPS
    A flowering plant, the cones of which are used to add bitterness and aroma to beer. Hops are the beer ingredient most strongly reflective of regional terroir.
    Measures hop bitterness. The higher the number, the more hop acids are present. This doesn't always translate to perceived bitterness, but generally, any beer with over 45 IBU will be perceived as bitter.
    A term used to describe particularly strong beers. The British brewed extra-strong stout in the 1700s for export to the court of Catherine the Great, referring to them as 'Russian Imperial Stouts." In modern brewing, 'imperial' has come to mean any extra-strong beer (usually over 8% ABV).
    A style of beer which emphasizes hop flavor. Originally brewed to survive long journeys from Britain to India, now primarily known as an American style.
    One of the two categories of beer, fermented at cool temperatures. Lager yeast, with its slower, cooler fermentation, contributes less flavor to beer, making lagers traditionally crisper and cleaner in flavor than ales.
  • MALT
    Grain (in beer, usually barley) that has been soaked in warm water to break down starch into simple sugar, readying it for fermentation.
    Beer that is low in alcohol content, typically under 5%. So named because you can consume several in one "session" of drinking.
    A chemical reaction occurring when hop oils are corrupted by light. Leads to an unpleasant, 'skunky' taste and aroma in beer. Often mistakenly thought to be a result of temperature change.
    Beer that tastes sour or tart. This generally occurs through the intentional introduction of Lactobacillus, a bacterial strain which creates lactic acid (the same sort that's found in Greek yogurt).

    A single-celled organism which turns sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The type of yeast being used affects the flavor of beer, as well as determining its category (ale or lager). Yeast strain is the only difference between ales and lagers.