The Real Wine Alternative Glossary: S (2nd half)


Spraying vineyard

Spraying – Vineyard managers who expostulate with contempt when they see a biodynamic farmed, their spittle is said to burn the very leaves off the canopy.

Spumante – The inevitable disgorgement when a night of cheap wine leaves you on your asti.

Stabilising Wine – The Musical Playlist


Seed my Frankenwine
Feel my solution
It’s a wine revolution
Seed my Frankenwine
Buggering up nature
Ain’t no crime.

(with apologies to Alice Cooper)


I am the Shake of Araby gum

It’s filtered, it’s stable, it’s fun
At night when you’re asleep
Into your lab I’ll creep.

And apply to all the wines in your collection
To purify and stabilise your wine selection
With your wines to me you will come
Because I’m the Shaker of Araby Gum

Oh, I’m the Shake of Araby Gum
And all the oenologists worship me – it’s dumb
You should see the way they use stabifix solution
To make wine without flavour, such pure dilution

 They beg me to clarify their bland little wines
And that ain’t bad — in fact, that’s good (for business), I’ve found. I’m a cad!

When I lay down to sleep
I’m counting colloids instead of sheep
From my laboratory I can’t scare ‘em out. Why should I?
They’re hooked on my quick-dissolving gum

And they hear when I sing and I hum

That I’m the Shake of Araby Gum with a high stabilisation index.

But what about James Brown’s take on this sexy issue?


It is a Mannotab’s World, it is a Mannotab’s world,
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without tartaric stabilization



Super poly tartryl ester filtering exposes
A total lack of respect for the integrity of our noses
Super poly tartryl ester filtering exposes
And if you use quite enough the wine is quite atrocious


To be sung to Edelweiss:

Cellulose, Cellulose
Add a dose
Make a gigantic precipitose

 Cellulose, Cellulose
Clean and bright
Clarify my house wine forever


This doesn’t roll out the tongue like Wine, Women and Song, but what the hey.

Chips, Staves & Barrel Refresh
More wood than the whole of Uttar Pradesh\
Chippy chips & stove-roasted staves
Are oenologists’ tricks if the wine misbehaves

Standards, Digression Concerning – According to Jonathan Swift

“Meanwhile, one welcomes the New Antediluvian Breed of Upstanding Freemasons who protect the Gullible Populace from the Nauseous Non-Sulphurous Emissions of certain Beslubbering Fustilarians. Guided by the Great Panjandrum himself, Master Robert Parker, they attack the Bully-Pulpit Bilious Preachers of Natural Wine with Subtil Arguments and Becoming Humility for they are themselves most devoid of Venomous Ego or Self-Interest in these Matters. Through the Modern Utensil of Google Alert no mention of the epithets Natural – or Real – may escape their unwavering Sauron-like Gaze, for whereupon they will launch their Armies of Fulminating Blogger-Orcs against those Meek Souls who have the Temerity to use these Foul and Unnatural Words. And rightly so, for Natural Wine is an Abomination to Man and God (RP) and those who brew and consume its Noxious Potions are but Mammering Motley-Minded Hornbeasts.”

Stealing Wine – We executed, furthermore, a carefully calculated plan. I pretended to get drunker and drunker, and with every apparent attack of nausea, I staggered off to the stream, a bottle of red wine hidden inside my leather jacket. After five attacks of this type we had the same number of litres of wine stored beneath the fronds of a willow, keeping cool in the water.

The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Steriled –The feel of intense irritation when critics, who value the bleach blanket approach, visit cellars which do not have hospital corners.


Stelvin Closures – The exceedingly pretentious name for a refinement of the screwcap; proof that you can’t stop progress, but you can screw it up. Stelvins are a step in a new direction. Cheap cork is anathema to wine and stelvin helps. It does not disguise poor quality wine and in a way the arguments that have steamed and raged in the past few years were typical of the opposing camps set up by traditionalists and modernistas. For the cork industry were protecting their livelihoods and the new world producers were using research to bash the stick-in-the-mud old world, thereby promoting their wines.

Stelvin 2

Q: How many wine experts does it take to twist a screwcap on a bottle?
A: Three. One to boom about cork, another to bellyache about stelvin, and a third to have closure on the whole experience.

Stepford Wines – A wine programmed in a laboratory; to be stable, functional and devoid of personality.

Storage – creating the perfect cellar is one of life’s eternal quests, but the problem of storing wine at home is one that exercises one’s ingenuity. A bottle of wine is like a friendly vampire: keep it away from sunlight and in a stable cool environment (an open zinc-lined coffin would do) and he’s as happy as Larry. Frequent deviations of temperature and movement upset the wine. If your cellar is damp then bacteria breed and labels rot. Don’t put white wines in the fridge until you’re ready to drink them. And if you really love your wines read; them some lyrical poetry.

Storage 2 –

I used to have a secret cellar
Where I kept the sweetest of my wine
Now it seems I’ve been too long
Hanging on the vine
And now she’s turning into water
Never be the same again
She’s turning it into water
All my wine tastes like rain

Damp has peeled away my labels
I can’t read the writing anymore
Nothing to grace my table
Nothing left to store
And now she’s turning into water
Never be the same again
She’s turning it into water
All my wine tastes like rain.

Down in The Cellar, Al Stewart

What do you mean it’s not about cellaring wine?

“Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel” – those who practise filtration are called gnatsies. Curiously, this expression derives from Matthew 23:24 and literally meant (in early versions of the New Testament) to strain out a gnat before drinking the wine. I see you’re looking confused as I am. I guess it means don’t be so fussy about little offences and gloss over the big ones.

Straw – Makes great wine that is beyond the paille (sic).


Straw Man – an effigy created by wine bloggers into which they can load tendentious positions and arrogate to themselves the role of sweet-reason commentator. A straw man argument is a sophomoric tactic used by those who love to argue in an echoing cave of their own prejudices.

Style – Wines may be divided by style in two distinct ways. Style can reflect the objective quality of the wine (light-, medium-, or full-bodied; oaked or unoaked; crisp, aromatic, spicy, floral, dry, medium or sweet and so on. Wines can also be categorised according to more subjective and intuitive criteria, such as: wild-and-exotic; thirst-quenchers; burnished by the sun; mellow fruitfulness; liquid aromatherapy; ABC (Anything But Chardonnay/Cabernet) or any formulation preceded by the question “Do you feel like?” which suggests that the wine has the capacity to evoke certain moods.

Subtlety – I’m an old-fashioned kind o’ guy. I like to be seduced by a wine, roll it around it my mouth learning as I taste. I; don’t expect to play tonsil-hockey with oak on a first date. So many wines are extracted with a hammer and chisel; they have no grace notes, but are all souped-up sweetmeatedness. Unction has no function when flavour batters your buds into submission. For demure refinement give me a tongue-teasing Riesling.

Sucrose – Fulsome and unctuous panegyrics written about certain (already) overhyped wines.

Sugar, Breaking The Code – Alsace ‘absolutely’ needs a system to help consumers navigate the wildly varying levels of sweetness… Tutti-frutti, sweet as pie, sugarbabes, tooth-loosener; bee-have; Gobi-dry. “James Taylor asked How Sweet It Is, so should we,” said Olivier Zind-Humbrecht who added that the entire system should be encoded in cryptograms of residual sugar.

Superlatives – Journalists and sub-editors diet on a surfeit of terms like “astounding, excellent and thrilling”… Roughly translated these mean respectively: “mildly surprising, quite good and fairly interesting.”

minimum-pricingSupermarkets – After the ridiculous success of their £5.99 Fine Wine Sale and I can’t believe it’s not Burgundy promotion, supermarket giant Aldi announces their unique range of “Everyday Cheaper Super-Ultra-Premium Wines”. (With a cherry on top). This will apparently enable you to get yet more bang for your 30-odd bucks.

The supermarket is expecting long hysterical queues to obtain some of the rarer stock, and is considering restricting the number of bottles a customer can buy to cope with demand. Aldi deny that this is anything more than a cheap (or expensive) ploy to drag customers away from their rivals in the glorious and noble war between the supermarkets. Waitrose are said to be considering responding with “a very sharp offer” on Gluhwein, meanwhile Sainsbury’s have released their Taste The Difference Chateau Haut-Brion and Tesco’s have added a bevy of Bordeaux six packs to their Finest Range.

Supernaculum – A wine fit to drain to the last drop. As opposed to a supermarket wine, a wine fit to drop down a drain.

Superstition – When dealing with difficult customers and perennially angry or self-important bloggers or tweeters do consult your biodynamic calendar. It may be a “nut day.”

Surveys – Did you know that it is a truth universally acknowledged that all wine surveys reveal ineluctable truths about human nature?

A revolutionary wine survey about wine surveys has once again exposed the vast chasm in our knowledge about the drinking habits of Joe and Joanna public and thereby pointed out the irrefutable need for more wine surveys. Incontrovertible research demonstrates that people living below the poverty line tended to spend less on a bottle of wine than plutocrats, Russian oligarchs and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was further discovered that drinks advertising aimed at babies and people in a vegetative state tended to be less effective than that targeted at impressionable twenty-somethings and alcoholics. Other extraordinary revelations include the fact that all women drink Pinot Grigio to a man, that Australian wine is physically louder than French wine and Chateau Latour would sell far more bottles off supermarket shelves if it were varietally-labelled Posh Frog Cabernet Merlot and sported a day-glow back label explaining that the wine could be drunk with red meat or poultry or quaffed as an aperitif.

Sussreserve – An unnumbered Swiss bank account where all grape must is stored

Sustainability – My heart sinks when I hear that countries like Australia and Chile are seeking to double their capacity, so that they can flood the market with cheap output. There is already over-production; we need less wine to appreciate its value, certainly less of the pasteurised, homogenised, filtered stuff. I say convert the land back to kangaroo reserves or llama farms.

Swift, Jonathan


Behold the bottle, where it lies
With neck elated toward the skies!
The god of winds and god of fire
Did to its wondrous birth conspire;
And Bacchus for the poet’s use
Pour’d in a strong inspiring juice.
See! as you raise it from its tomb,
It drags behind a spacious womb,
And in the spacious womb contains
A sovereign medicine for the brains

Extract From Stella’s Birthday By Jonathan Swift.

“My nose itched, and I knew I should drink wine or kiss a fool.”

“This wine should be eaten, it is too good to be drunk.”

Swiss – Did you know that Swiss wines tend to be neutral?

Symposium – Originally, a convivial meeting for drinking, music, and intellectual discussion which has since becoming any old excuse for a conference and jetting off across the world to exotic locations in order to discuss the effect of the new media on wine, which begs the question… why couldn’t they just tweet their thoughts?

Syrah – Yessiree, sirrah, the serious siren Syrah.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Scornful somms sneer snidely, as some stoic sages sip Sauvignon in silent solitude:
    “Struth, sipping Sauvignon sure sucks”. “Sauvignon’s so sublime” say sages.

  2. Les Caves

    Suitably splendid sir!

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