ABV This is ‘alcohol by volume’ and is determined by the fermentation process. This is when yeast convert the natural grape sugars into alcohol. The amount of alcohol is dependent on the amount of sugar in the grapes, which in turn is determined by how ripe the grapes are. Riper grapes have more sugar!
AOC Appellation d’Origine Contrôllée is a set of standards that French wine must meet, to be granted AOC status. There are about 350 AOCs in France and these make up just over 50% of all wine produced. The standards cover which grapes can be grown in which geographical areas as well as yield, planting densities, production methods and minimum levels of alcohol.
DOC/DOCG This stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (e Garantita) which is the set of standards for Italian wines, similar to the French AOC system.
AMW Appellation Marlborough Wine is the assurance mark of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It is a promise of origin, integrity, authenticity and sustainability that the wine-buying public of the world can see and trust. To qualify for the certification, wines must adhere to strict criteria including the grapes being 100% from Marlborough, grown by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand-certified vineyards from managed yields and be bottled in New Zealand.
RS RS stands for ‘residual sugar’ and is the amount of natural grape sugars left in the wine after fermentation and it is measured in grams per litre. If a wine is fermented to dryness, then there will be very little RS, usually less than 5g/l. A winemaker can also choose to stop the fermentation to make a sweeter wine – this would usually result in lower alcohol. Whilst New Zealand winemakers are not bound by rules for RS, European wines abide by the following:
|Amount of RS||Labelling term|
|Up to 4g/l||Dry/Sec|
|4g/l – 12g/l||Medium dry/demi-sec|
|12g/l – 45g/l||Medium (Medium sweet)|
|More than 45g/l||Sweet/Doux|
For sparkling wines, the labelling terms are regulated as follows:
|Up to 3g/l||Brut Nature|
|Up to 6g/l||Extra Brut|
|Up to 1 g/l||Brut|
|12g/l–17g/l||Extra Dry Extra Sec|
|17g/l –32g/l||Dry Sec|
|More than 50g/l||Sweet/Doux|