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05 May 2006

How To Spit in German, French & Italian

(Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and Basic Juice readers.  If you are interested in being a guest author on Basic Juice, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Author: Emily of Winemonger - an importer and online retailer of Austrian wine.

Spit How To Spit in German, French & Italian

In honor of Beau’s upcoming Live Austrian Wine Adventure, and for all of you out there who are planning your own wine tours abroad, I thought I would put together this small guide of words you may find yourself needing to say when you are in a German, French or Italian winery (in that order).

AGE: alter – age – eta

ALCOHOLIC CONTENT: alkoholgehalt - teneur en alcool - gradazione alcolica

BOUQUET, NOSE: bukett – bouquet – bouquet

CORKY TASTE: korkgeschmack – gout de bouchon – sapore di tappo

DRY: trocken - sec - secco

EARTHY: erdig – gout de terroir – terroso

FAT: fett – gras – grasso

FRESH: frisch – frais – fresco

FRUIT: frucht – fruit – fruttato

GRAPE: beere – baie – acino

GRAPE CLUSTER: traube - raisin - grappolo

GRAPE VARIETY: rebsorte – cepage - vitigno

LEES: geläger – lies – feccia

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION: biologischer Säureabbau, malolaktische gärung – fermentation malolactique – fermentazione malolattica

OAK AGING (maturation in wood): holzreife – vieillissement en fut de bois – lignificazione del tralcio

OENOLOGIST: weinbautechniker - oenologue - enotechnico

amtl. geprüfter Weinkoster degustateur officialdegustatore ufficiale

PLONK: gepanschter Wein – vin frelate´- vino sofisticato

PULP ON TOP OF THE FERMENTING WINE IN THE VAT: tresterhut - chapeau de marc - cappello delle vinacce

RESIDUAL SUGAR: restzucker – sucre residuel – zucchero residuale

RICH, FULL-BODIED: gehaltvoll – corse – corposo

ROUND, ROUNDED: abgerundet - rond – rotondo

SPARKLING WINE: sekt - vin mousseux - spumante

SPICE: gewürz – epice - spezia

SPIT (to spit): ausspucken – recracher – sputare

SPITOON (spit bucket): spucknapf - carcoir - sputacchiera

STAINLESS STEEL TANK: stahltank – cuve inox – botte d’acciaio inossidabile

TANNIN: Gerbstoff – tanin – tannino

TASTE (impression of, on the palate): Geschmacksempfindung – impression gustative – sensazione gustativa

TASTE (to taste): verkosten - deguster - degustare

TASTING SAMPLE: verkostungsmuster - echantillon de degustation - campione di degustazione

TASTING SIP: probeschluck – gorgee d’essai – assaggio

VINEYARD: weinberg - vignoble - vigneto

WELL-BALANCED: ausgewogen – en balance – equilibrato

WINEMAKER: kellermeister – maitre de chai - cantiniere

WINE MERCHANT, WINE SHOP: vinothek - vinotheque - enoteca

So let's say I want to describe one of my absolute favorite Grüner Veltliners of the 2004 vintage, the
Högl Ried Schön-Viessling Grüner Veltliner Smaragd from the Wachau.  Just a stunning wine. In English, I would toss around words like: Powerful! Smooth. Notes of herbs, minerals, white pepper (that peppery spiciness in the smell and taste of Grüner Veltliner), and pear fruit.

In German: Wuchtig! Glatt. Krautig, mineralisch, weisspfeffer (typisches, pfeffrigwurziges Aroma eines Grunen Veltliners), und birne frucht.

In French: Grossier! Lisse. Herbace, mineral, poivre blanc (arome poivre-epice, typique du Gruner Veltliner) et fruit de poire.

In Italian: Impetuoso! Liscio. Erbaceo, minerale, pepe bianco (tipico aroma pepato e speziato del Gruner Veltliner) frutatto pera.

There you have it! Best of luck to you, Beau. Bon Voyage and all of that. See you at

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A few corrections for the french :
Grape cluster : grappe
Sparkling wine : vin pétillant
Spitoon : crachoir
Well balanced : équilibré
Wine merchant, wine shop : caviste


not to be a pain in the butt, because technically I speak Spanish and not Italian, but I believe your Italian translation for plonk says "sophisticated wine"...huh?!?


Hi Bertrand & WhistlingWench-
I speak neither French nor Italian. The translations were pulled from a "wein worterbuch" that an Austrian winemaker gave me. Perhaps that Italian translation for plonk is what they say, sort of tongue-in-cheek? Any Italians out there that can enlighten us?

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