Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Where did the term “Apera,” which has replaced the word "Sherry" on Canadian Sherry bottles, come from?
—Holly, Salmon Arm, Canada
As I’ve written before, these days most of the world agrees that the word “Sherry” should only refer to the stuff made in the Jerez region of Spain, just as they agree that Champagne should only be used for the sparkling wines that come from the Champagne region of France.
But it took a while to get there. It wasn’t until 2005 when the United States, as part of a trade agreement, officially agreed to no longer use these theretofore semi-generic terms, including Sherry, Burgundy, Port and Chianti (though some uses were grandfathered in). Along this thinking, beginning in 2011, Australia decided to change the name of Sherry-inspired wines made in Australia to be called Apera, and the same change was adopted by Canada in 2014.
I like the word “Apera,” which is a play on aperitif. It's a lovely reminder of how Sherry can be a lovely way to start a meal. It’s also easy to remember, spell and pronounce. Win, win and win.