glossary

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Yield: The quantity of grapes or wine produced measured in tons per acre or hectoliters per hectare. Although it is true that overcropped vines with high yields produce less-concentrated grapes, it is not true that lower yields always mean higher quality. Different soils, vineyards and varieties are able to successfully carry different levels of crop.

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Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC or A.O.C.): The French system of appellations, begun in the 1930s and considered the wine world's prototype. To carry an appellation in this system, a wine must follow rules describing the area the grapes are grown in, the varieties used, the ripeness, the alcoholic strength, the vineyard yields and the methods used in growing the grapes and making the wine.

Clone: A group of vines originating from a single, individual plant propagated asexually from a single source. Clones are selected for the unique qualities of the grapes and wines they yield, such as flavor, productivity and adaptability to growing conditions.

Green Harvest: The trimming of unripe grapes to decrease crop yields, thereby improving the concentration of the remaining bunches.

Canopy: The green foliage of a grapevine is called the canopy. The canopy can be trimmed or thinned to manage the amount of air and sun reaching the fruit, improving fruit quality, increasing yield and controlling disease.

Coulure: During flowering in the spring, wind and rain as well as chemical deficiencies can keep grapevine flowers from being properly fertilized, causing these flowers to drop off the cluster. This dropping of flowers is called coulure, or shatter. Since each flower is responsible for a grape, the cluster of grapes that eventually forms is loose and missing grapes. If the improperly fertilized flower stays attached, it produces a puny, seedless grape called a "shot" grape. Although the yield is reduced, there is a corresponding benefit—loose clusters that allow for increased air circulation are less susceptible to rot in humid conditions.

Hectoliter: A quantity of liquid equivalent to 100 liters or 26.4 gallons. In most of Europe, yield is measured in hectoliters per hectare vs. tons per acre in the U.S.

Old Vine: Some wines come from vines that are 50, 70 or even 100 years of age, which yield small quantities of concentrated fruit, and make a more concentrated and complex wine. Because this is an unregulated term, the wine can come from relatively young vines.

Vin de Table: France's lowest level of wine classification, meaning "table wine." There are no limits on vineyard yields for wines labeled vin de table, and they do not require a vintage date.

Ébourgeonnage: French term for debudding vines. This is performed early in the growing season as part of yield control and canopy management.

Éclaircissage: French term for green harvest, or crop thinning. Grape bunches are removed to improve air flow through the canopy, facilitate the ripening of the remaining bunches and reduce the crop yield.

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