The Real Alternative Wine Glossary: Q

Quaggling – Qwerty


Quaggling quaddler – An inveterate grumbling critic who literally quivers with asperity when the words “natural” and “wine” are juxtaposed in a single sentence.

Quahogs, Stuffed – And served with Rhody Riesling or Shelter Harbour Chardonnay

Quality, Definition of

Bernard: The older the wine the gooder it is

Manny: The more expensive the wine the gooder it is

-Black Books

Columbo: I want you to teach me everything you know.
Wine Expert: It took me forty years to acquire my expertise.
Columbo: Well, what can you do in an hour and a half?
Wine Expert: Oh, just the very basics.
Columbo: Let’s start with this–How can you tell a good wine from an average wine?
Wine Expert: By the price.

-Columbo – Any Port In A Storm

Quality – What does Aristotle say? “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” Excellence and natural wine are only mutually exclusive concepts to those who dislike natural wine and view it purely as the embodiment of lazy-faire winemaking. Evidently, there are a lot of bad nat wine dudes out there not being excellent unto themselves. Although preaching excellence is like arguing for motherpie and applehood. The term is a loose rhetorical trope that needs to be elaborated. Excellent is mooted as a platonic concept in what is surely a relativistic world. Who, after all, establishes the irrefutable hierarchy of excellence; his excellency, Mr Parker, the man who peddles his pickled peck of points, or perhaps we are referring to the excellence of the supermarket buyer’s palate, he or she who seeks icily regular, splendidly null wines for brand utopia?

“Quartz and all” – A complete survey of a particular terroir.


Queen – If Barolo is the king of Nebbiolo, then Barbaresco is the queen, Gattinara, the son, and Grignolino (no relation) the chimney sweep. And Spanna is the plumber.

Quibbling – Dribbling wine minutely whilst arguing about its minutiae.

Quicksilver – Another name for the Burgundian wines of AOC Mercurey.

Quidditch – An expensive wine on a restaurant list that you feel compelled to pay for against your better judgement.

Quiddity – The singular essence of something. What the best natural wines have.

Quillet – A quibble or evasive distinction that characterises the so-called discourse about natural wine, much beloved by those who profess to have their views supported by scientific certainty.

Hence it comes that such a pack of vile buffoons […] intrude with unwashed feet upon the sacred precinct of Theology, bringing with them nothing save brazen impudence, and some hackneyed quillets and scholastic trifles not good enough for a crowd at a street corner.

– Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

Quincy – An appellation in the Loire on the Cher tributary producing crunchy Sauvignon.

quince drawing

Quincey – The aroma and flavour of quinces in a white – usually Chenin.

Quine – A self-reproducing wine.

Quintessential – Recently tasted wines which are good examples of their kind are described as “quintessential wines”, the supernumerary syllables adding verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing assertion.

Quinta Na Roo – A region in Mexico where Aussie wines taste particularly yuckatan.

Quondam – Former – as in game/gatekeeper turned poacher, a sommelier who becomes a sales representative.

Quorate – A wine list in which all the wines you want to drink are present and correct

Quotas – the method of creating demand by limiting availability of a wine.


Qvevri – A clay vessel made out of terracotta lined with beeswax that is buried in the ground (either in the cellar or outside) and used to ferment the grapes (skin and all) and thereafter to age the wine as necessary.

Qwerty – A portmanteau word for a wine that is quirky, earthy and worth it.

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