Wine agriculture: Portuguese terms explained
Interested in taking a deep dive into wine culture in Portugal? This article aims to explain and give context to some of the most common wine agriculture terms. Discover the differences between very similar words like vinho and vinha or viticultor and vinicultor but – prepare yourself – you’ll also find these words’ etymology. This is about to get really nerdy!
Etymology: Vinho has its origin in the Latin word (vīnum) itself deriving from ancient greek (οἶνος, oínos).
This word is very similar to vinho but ends with an “a”.Etymology: Vinha has its origin in the Latin word (vinea.ae).
Vinha velha: Old vineyard
Etymology: Velha is the feminine version of velho. From Latin vetus (“old”) + –ulus. Vetus has its origins in Proto-Italic wetos, from Proto-Indo-European wétos (“year”).
Etymology: From Latin ūva (“grape”).
Cacho: Bunch of grapes
The broader meaning refers to a bunch of flowers or fruits. Etymology: Uncertain origin.
Casta: Grape variety
The broader meaning refers to caste, kind, sort, breed, or class. Etymology: The English word caste derives itself from Portuguese or Spanish. The Oxford English Dictionary derives it from Portuguese casto (“chaste”), from Latin castus. You can read more about this topic in the Wictionary.
Vindima: Wine harvest
The wine was such important produce in classic culture and history that it has a word just for its harvest. Etymology: Vindima comes from Latin (vindemia).
The person who takes care of the vineyard. Etymology: From Latin vītis (“vine, grapevine”) + cultor, cultōris (“cultivator, tiller”).
It’s a minor change from viti to vini but being a winegrower can encompass many roles.
Often this person holds the vision for the estate development, from vine plantation, harvest, and wine production to sales and distribution.
In Portuguese is also called the vitivinicultor (viti+vini-cultor).
Etymology: From Latin vīnum (“wine”) + cultor, cultōris (“cultivator, tiller”).
Etymology: From Ancient Greek οἶνος (oînos, “wine”) + logy (“the study of”).
I hope this article was helpful to understand the wine culture in Portugal. Any doubt or suggestion? Feel free to drop a line in the comment box below.