Abboccato - Semi-sweet.
Amabile - Semi-sweet, but usually sweeter than abboccato.
Amarone - Bitter.
Annato - Year.
Asciutto - Bone dry.
Azienda/Azienda Agricola - Estate/winery.
Azienda Vitivinicola - Specialist wine estate.
Barrique - Denotes ageing in new oak.
Bianco - white.
Bric - Piedmont term for hill.
Cantina - Cellar, winery.
Cantina Sociale - Co-operative winery.
Cascina - Farm or estate (northern Italy).
Cerasuolo - Cherry-red.
Chiaretto - Somewhere between rose and very light red.
Classico - Wine from a restricted area within a DOC. Usually the central area and often the source of the best wines.
Colli - Hilly area.
Consorzio - Group of producers who control and promote the wines in their particular region.
Cru - Vineyard.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) - Controlled wine region. The DOC system has been recognized as having many faults, notably that it patently fails to acknowledge some of the best wines in Italy and that it has been granted to some areas more for their wine tradition than for their present quality. The best guarantee of quality is the name of the producer.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) - Theoretically a superior classification to DOC but this was cast into doubt when the first white DOCG was granted to the undistinguished Albana di Romagna. Nevertheless, it does recognize some of the best Italian reds, for example Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello di Montalcino. In future it should apply to specific, higher-quality sub-regions.
Dolce - Very sweet.
Enoteca - Literally a "wine library" - most commonly a wine shop but sometimes a local wine "institute" or regulator body.
Fattoria - Farm.
Fermentazione Naturale - Natural fermentation, but can be in bottle or tank.
Flore - Literally "flower", refers to the first pressing of grapes.
Frizzante - Semi-sparkling.
Frizzantino - Very lightly sparkling.
Gradi - Percentage of alcohol by volume.
Imbottigliato - Bottled.
Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) - New quality designation below DOC but above vino da tavola.
Liquoroso - Sweet and fortified, or a dry white wine high in alcohol.
Localita (also Ronco and Vigneto) - Single vineyard.
Metodo Classico - The methode champenoise.
Passito - Strong, sweet wine made from semi-dried (passito) grapes.
Pastoso - Medium-sweet.
Podere - Small farm or estate.
Ramato - Copper-coloured wines made from Pinot Grigio grapes briefly macerated on their skins.
Recioto - (della Valpolicella, di Soave) Speciality styles of the Veneto made from semi-dried grapes. Can be dry and bitter (amarone), sweet (amabile) or an intermediate style (amandorlato). Strong, concentrated flavours and high alcohol levels characterize all.
Ripasso - Wine fermented on the less of a recioto.
Riserva/Riserva Speciale - DOC wine matured for a statutory number of years in a barrel.
Rosato - Rose.
Rosso - Red.
Secco - Dry.
Semi-secco - Medium-dry.
Sori - Piedmont term for hillside.
Spumante - Fully sparkling wine.
Stravecchio - Very old.
Superiore - DOC wines meeting certain additional conditions, such as higher alcohol content.
Uvaggio - Wine blended from a number of grape varieties.
Uvas - Grapes.
Vecchio - Old.
Vendemmia - Vintage.
Vigna - Vineyard.
Vin Santo/Vino Santo - Traditionally sweet - although can be dry - white from passito grapes stored in sealed casks that have not been topped up for several years. Literally means "holy wine", as it was traditionally racked during Holy Week before Easter.
Vini tipici - Equivalent of French vins de pays - "country wins" with some regional character. A new designation which may or may not catch on.
Vino novello - New, "nouveau-style" wine.
Vino da arrosto - A robust red that is a "wine for roast meat".
Vino da pasta - Ordinary "meal-time" wine.
Vino da tavola - Literally means "table wine" but includes some of Italy's finest wines since the DOC laws place onerous restrictions on the use of non-traditional grape varieties and innovative methods.