Glossary of professional wine terms in Spanish and English | Long Wines
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Professional wine tasting

Glossary of professional wine terms in Spanish and English

If you visit Spain regularly to buy wines or visit suppliers, then we’re sure you’ve encountered some Spanish wine speak on your travels that has left you baffled. So what does a winemaker mean, when they talk about balsamic notes in their wines? How do you ask for an invoice or a pallet? To help, we’ve compiled a glossary of Spanish wine terms.

Professional buying/marketing terms

a quoteun presupuesto
an invoiceuna factura
cardboard casescajas de cartón
Bordeaux/Burgundy bottleBotella bordelesa/borgoña
screwcaptapón de rosca
corkcorcho
delivery included/excludedportes incluidos/excluidos
Including/excluding sales tax/VAT-exemptCon/sin IVA/exento de IVA
collection timesHorario de recogida
label etiqueta
casecaja
capsulecápsula
Gold/silver foilingstamping de oro/plata
Debossing/embossingGolpe en seco/relieve
Muselet (wire cage over Cava cork)Morrión
Mesh (as found on Gran Reserva)Malla

Visiting a winery

Two words you frequently hear at visits that can leave non-Spanish speakers a little confused: “elaborate” (they mean produce or make) and cementerio– not where they put visitors who get a bit over enthusiastic in the tasting room, but the cellar when bottles are laid down to rest for a long time.

Make/produceElaborar
Winery owner/winemakerBodeguero/Enólogo
VineyardsViñedos
WineryBodega
Production facilitiesZona de elaboración
Barrel cellarNave de barricas
Stainless steel/concrete tanks/vatsTanques/cubas de acero inoxidable/de cimento
Sorting tableMesa de selección
French/American oak barrelsBarricas de roble francés/americano
WinemakerEnólogo
WinemakingElaboración de vino
MustMosto
YeastLevadura
StemsRaspón
SkinsPieles/hollejo
Sorting tableMesa de selección
DestemmerDespalilladora
Basket/pneumatic pressPrensa vertical/neumática
Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)Fermentación Maloláctica (FML)
Fine/gross leesLías (finas/gruesas)
Pumping overRemontado
Punching downBazuqueo
RackingTrasiego

Out in the vineyards

VineyardViñedo/viña
A vineUna cepa de vid
Pruning/ to pruneLa poda/podar
Vine trainingConducción de la vid
Head trainingConducción en cabeza
Cordon trainingConducción en cordón
Spur pruningPoda en pulgar
Replacement cane pruningPoda en vara
Bush vinesVides en vaso
Wire-trained vinesVides en espaldera
PloughArar
FertilizeAbonar
Row of vinesHilera
ShootPámpano
Cane (1 year old or more)Vara
Cane (less than one year old)Sarmiento
BudYema
BudburstBrotación
FloweringFloración
Fruit-setCuajado
VéraisonEnvero
RipeningMaduración
Pick/harvestCosechar/vendimiar

Tasting wine

Here is where things can get really tricky. I’m sure you’ve seen some back label texts that have been run through Google Translate rather than past a professional translator, and the stuff that comes out can be amusing albeit nonsensical!

When talking about the visual description of a wine rather than a clothing item rarely seen this century, capa alta should not be translated as “high cape”. What the writer is really talking about is the depth of pigmentation in the wine, what is sometimes referred to using the French word robe, but more often simply with the adjective “deep”, so “Rojo rubí de capa alta” would be “deep ruby red.”

Wine-speak is not easy to understand at the best of times so throw in some dodgy translation and its incomprehensible! So if you ever see these words on a back label you know what to expect.

SwirlAirear
SniffOler
SipCatar
SwallowTragar
SpitEscupir
AppearanceAspecto
ClearLimpio
HazyTurbio
Pale/deep intensityDe capa baja/alta
Ruby/Garnet/TawnyRubí/Granate/Teja
RimRibete
Legs/tearsLágrimas
NoseNariz
IntenseIntenso
AromaticAromático
Citrus/Red/Black/Tropical/Stone fruitsFruta cítrica/roja/negra/tropical/ de hueso
Notes of spice/oak/toast/vanilla/liquoriceNotas especiadas/de roble/tostadas/vainilla/regaliz
Grassy notes of nettle/fennelNotas herbáceos de ortiga/hinojo
Resinous notesNotas balsámicas
PalatePaladar
Dry/off-drySeco/Casi seco
Medium sweet/sweetSemi-dulce/dulce
Light/medium/Full-bodiedDe cuerpo ligero/medio/de mucho cuerpo
Fresh/acidicFresco/de mucha acidez
Ripe/silky/velvety/harsh tanninsTaninos maduros/sedosos/aterciopelados/agresivos
Long/short finishFinal largo/corto
Complex/simpleComplejo/simple
BalancedEquilibrado

This glossary was compiled by our collaborator Anna Harris-Noble, who, as well as working behind the scenes at Long Wines on marketing activities, is a professional wine translator.