GLOSSARY OF WINE AND BEER MAKING
a b c d e f g h i l m n o p r s t v w y

secondary fermentation A term for the quiet steady stage of fermentation which succeeds the first stage. Also describes the second fermentation of sparkling wines or beers, induced in the bottle, to provide the characteristic effervescence (condition) of the finished wine or beer when poured into a glass. It also describes the malolactic fermentation (q.v.) of a wine.
sediment Insoluble material which falls to the bottom of a bottle of wine after fermentation and throughout the life of a wine. Also the yeast sediment in bottle-conditioned beers.
sensation threshold The minimum quantity of a substance needed to produce a sensation which, although experienced, cannot be identified.
smooth Applied to a wine or beer which is soft and easy on the palate, in the mouth and in the after-taste.
sorbic acid An organic acid used to stabilise sweet wines by preventing yeast multiplication. May be used as such or as potassium sorbate. The wine should always be sulphited first. See "geranium".
sour Describes an unpleasant flavour found in wines, reminiscent of unripe ingredients and with high acidity, often malic acid. See "green". In beers is an indication of a degree of acetification.
specific gravity SG. The ratio of the weight of a given volume of a liquid to the weight of the same volume of water. Although the specific gravity of a wine or beer may give a very rough indication of sugar content, it is an unreliable guide to sweetness, because of the levels of other ingredients.
spoilage yeasts A general term for types of yeast which attack wine or beer, especially if the alcohol level or acidity is low. A typical example is Candida mycoderma, which shows up as a powdery white film ("flowers of wine") covering the surface. The yeast converts the alcohol to carbon dioxide and water, and, if neglected, renders the wine or beer useless. Treatment with sulphite is effective, but may need repeating.
spritzig The German word for the slight effervescence and prickle caused by a very slight secondary fermentation in a bottle of wine.
starbright See "brilliant".
starch haze See "haze".
still wine A wine containing little or no dissolved carbon dioxide. This term describes most wines entered in amateur shows. In young wines particularly, occasional small bubbles of carbon dioxide might appear from the wine in the glass. This is acceptable if not excessive. Some commercial still wines contain deliberately introduced small quantities of dissolved carbon dioxide.
succinic acid An organic acid found in small quantities in wines. A normal product of fermentation.
sugars Members of a class of compounds, known as carbohydrates, that contribute to the sweetness and body of wines and beers. They include simple sugars, e.g. glucose and fructose, more complex types formed from two simple sugars joined chemically, e.g. sucrose, maltose and lactose, and polysaccharides (q.v.), e.g. dextrins and starch. Only the simple (reducing) sugars can be measured using the clinitest technique.
sulphite A contraction of sodium or potassium metabisulphite. See "sulphur dioxide".
sulphur dioxide SO2. The pungent gas, usually used in solution to sterilise wine and beer making equipment and bottles. Also added, particularly to dry white table wines, to retard oxidation. Its presence is a fault when detected in a wine. Sulphur dioxide is produced by acidifying sodium or potassium metabisulphite, e.g. as Campden tablets (q.v.).
sweet The sweet taste. Sweetness is due not only to sugars; glycerol, alcohol, dextrins and artificial sweeteners also have a sweet taste.

Last updated: 03/12/09
Copyright: 2006 NGWBJ