Oak is a type of hardwood commonly used for barrels that hold beverages. American oak has a distinctive flavor (oftentimes of caramel, dill, cream soda, and coconut) while the French oak flavor is more subtle. Both types of oak barrels contribute considerable tannin and vanillin (vanilla) flavors to wines during aging. (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Production)
Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley
The Oak Knoll sub-district of Napa Valley was granted an AVA in 2004 after a sustained bureaucratic tussle. The main justification for the distinction was the coolness of the climate as summer temperatures here are noticeably cooler than up-valley, due to proximity to the San Pablo Bay, 15 miles to the south.

The district lies entirely on the valley floor just to the north of the town of Napa and has a full 3,500 acres under vine. The moderate climate creates wines with good acidity and a degree of finesse, making it more Bordeaux-like than the more powerful wines produced up-valley and at higher elevations.

John Trefethen coined the term “sweet spot” to describe these versatile growing conditions and many different grapes thrive in this moderate climate. Before 1968, the majority of what is now Oak Knoll Wine Country was not used for grape growing at all. Realizing the overwhelming promise of this untapped resource, Eugenio Trefethen purchased 600 acres of this now prestigious land and his wines had a profound impact on the history of Oak Knoll.

In addition to Trefethen, several Napa Valley stalwarts rely heavily on Oak Knoll fruit and comparative newcomers such as Monticello, Blackbird, and many, many others regularly bottle Oak Knoll wines. (Wine/Appellations)
Oak Root Fungus
See Armillaria. (Wine/Other)
Oakville, Napa Valley
Oakville is perhaps the most famous sub-region of the Napa Valley. It is the heart of the Napa Valley, equidistant between Calistoga and Napa at a point where the valley floor is the widest.

Oakville Wineries have a distinguished history of wine production. Hamilton Walker Crabb was the first to plant vineyards in the region. In 1868, he bought 240 acres of land and began planting the "To Kalon" Vineyard. By 1880, there were over 400 acres of vineyards in the area and today there are 5,000 acres under vine.

Oakville Wine is produced in a warm climate north of the Yountville Mounts. These hills block much of the fog and wind from the San Pablo Bay from advancing north, but let enough through to allow even and consistent ripening. This gives grapes time to ripen and develop their distinctive varietal characteristics that Oakville Wineries are known for.

There are several distinct terrains in Oakville that support many different grapes. Alluvial benches border the valley walls on both sides of the Napa river. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel are planted in these areas. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are common on the valley floor.

Oakville wineries have gained worldwide recognition for their production of fine Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet accounts for 75% of production. Some of Oakville’s most famous wineries include Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Joseph Phelps, Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Silver Oak Winery, and Heitz. (Wine/Appellations)
Oaky is a tasting term used to describe the overt presence of oak on the nose or palate of a beverage. This may be discernible by a woodiness, vanilla flavor, spiciness, or toastiness. (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Tasting Terms)
Oaxacan Old Fashioned
The New York bar Mayahuel has introduced countless drinkers to the joys of agave spirits, and this Mexican-accented riff on the classic Old Fashioned, created by Phil Ward, mixes reposado tequila with mezcal and the chocolate-spice notes of mole bitters to create a magnificent riff on the familiar classic. (Spirits/Cocktails)
Pronounced "ex'-a-luh", Oechsle is a German density scale used to estimate the ripeness of grapes and predict the eventual alcohol content of a wine produced from those grapes. (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Production)
Oenology is the original Greek spelling of Enology. (Wine/Other)
An offensive aspect of a beverage, such as rotten egg (Hydrogen sulfide) odor, or an atypical aspect, such as a Cabernet-Sauvignon wine smelling or tasting more like a Pina Colada can be described as "off". Usually this is indicative of some kind of flaw or fault. (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Tasting Terms Chemistry & Flaws)
Ohio River Valley
The Ohio River Valley is one of the largest AVAs in America, as it spans parts of four states. In Ohio, this AVA cuts across the southwestern reaches; Cincinnati is in the boundaries. Named for the Ohio River, the vineyards are generally close to the river, to take advantage of the moderating effects. There is a large mix of varieties, from hybrids such as Marquette and Chambourcin to international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay. While these wines are not as rich or as complex as examples from California (one wouldn't expect them to be, given the climate), there has been some favorable press regarding the top examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, while Ice Wine is starting to become a factor. (Wine/Appellations)
Oidium is the French word for the fungal vine disease "powdery mildew." (Wine/Other)
Okanagan Valley
The Okanagan Valley, is located in the far western province of British Columbia in Canada. Named for the eponymous river and lake in the area, the valley runs for about 125 miles south to the border with the United States. Being this far north, it is a cool climate and the bodies of water help maintain moderate temperatures, ideal for growing varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Surprisingly, there are about as many red grapes planted as white; Merlot is the leading variety. A small amount of ice wine, from frozen grapes, is also produced. (Wine/Appellations)
Old Cuban
Bartender Audrey Saunders is best known for her work at Soho’s Pegu Club, where her drink credits include this Mojito-meets–French 75 classic. (Spirits/Cocktails)
Old Fashioned
The first printed definition of the word cocktail came from the Hudson, New York, newspaper, The Balance and Columbian Repository in 1806. When Asked by a subscriber what this (relatively) new word cock-tail meant, the editor replied:

Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters- it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.

Political commentary aside, this crude formula- any type of spirit, sugar, water, and bitters- is not a bad formula for a family of drinks.

If the drink is beginning to sound at all familiar, it is because it is the same drink we typically think of as an old-fashioned today. It is believed that once the word cocktail took hold, all drinks became known as cocktails (as the still are), and old-timers looking for that original formula might ask the bartender for a cocktail “in the old fashion.” (Spirits/Cocktails)
Old Mission Peninsula
One of four AVAs in the state of Michigan, Old Mission Peninsula is located in the far northwestern corner of the mainland of the state; it borders Traverse Bay, an extension of Lake Michigan. The AVA covers the entire peninsula, which is 19 miles long and only 3 miles in width. While winter frosts can be a problem this far north, the lake has a moderating effect; it also plays a similar role during summer. As you might imagine, cool climate varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Noir are the most widely planted, followed by Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Franc. There are currently around ten wineries in this AVA. (Wine/Appellations)
Olorosso is a type of Spanish sherry. It is produced by oxidative aging and is usually dry, dark and nutty. (Wine/Classification & Attributes)
Oltrepo Pavese DOC
Located in the southwestern reaches of the Lombardy region, Oltrepo Pavese is home to many different wine types, most notably classically made sparkling wine from Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay. There are also still, dry version of these two varieties, as well as Riesling Renano, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon (Blanc) and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The sparkling wines, however, are the most well known wines that carry the Oltrepo Pavese designation. These must be aged for a minimum of 18 months and cannot be released until 24 months after the vintage. Medium-bodied with good acidity and a pleasant fruitiness, these are excellent values for sparkling wine. (Wine/Appellations)
Bittering hop used for Stouts, Dark Ales, and APAs with a very subtle citrus and spicy character. Similar to Brewer's Gold, Chinook, and Galena. (Beer/Hops)
Ontario, located near the Great Lakes, is the largest province in Canada for wine production, as well as being the most populated. This is a classic continental climate; hot days during the summer are moderated by the nearby lakes. There are four major viticultural areas in Ontario: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie, Pelee island and Prince Edward County. Of these, the Niagara Peninsula is the best known, especially for Pinot Noir and Ice Wines. While there are eight hybrid varieties allowed in Ontario (including Baco Noir and Vidal), most varieties are the classic vitis vinifiera; the most widely planted are Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. (Wine/Appellations)
Dual-use hop with a smooth, pleasant bitterness. Herbal, spicy (pepper), and citrus aromas continuing with a fruity, floral, and herbal palate. Used for German styles such as Hefeweizen, Helles, and Pilsner as well as Belgian Ales. Similar to Tettnang and Styrian Golding. Commercial examples of Opal include: Weihenstephaner Kristallweizenbock, Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils, Surly Hell. (Beer/Hops)
Open-Top Tanks
Wine tanks which have no permanent covers are called open-top tankes. They are typically used only for red wine fermentation. This is the traditional design for fermenters, but modern wineries now use only the closed-top design. Open top tanks are more difficult to keep clean, allow loss of volatile wine flavor during warm fermentations and require some type of surrounding building or roof in case of rain. (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Production)
Oporto is a wine appellation named for the eponymous city on the western border of Portugal, along the Atlantic Ocean. Wine lovers around the world know the name for the famous Port wines produced from local vineyards.

Port is a fortified wine, where alcohol is added to increase total percentage from 18% to 20%. Varieties used here include Tinta Nacional and Tinta Roriz. Numerous styles are produced, from vintage ports – from a single year – to tawny ports – the name derived from its tawny, brownish color- aged for ten, twenty or even forty years or longer.

Given the high alcoholic percentage, Ports can be enjoyed for decades; the vintage ports, not aged in wood, so as to prevent oxidation, are prime examples, as the finest offerings are ideal after 40 or 50 years. These are best enjoyed on their own or with a strong blue cheese. Because of the uniqueness of these wines, prices are expensive, with numerous vintage ports retailing for more than $100 a bottle. (Wine/Appellations)
Orange is a rapidly growing wine region nestled in the rolling hills of the Great Dividing Range that separates the temperate East Coast of Australia from the forbidding Outback. The region is 120 miles west-south-west of Sydney and elevation creates a cooler local climate than surrounding regions.

The area was first noted as one of the nation's better regions for forceful-yet-balanced styles of Chardonnay, but plantings of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon have been increasing and these yield wines that are a little more restrained and structured than the Barossa benchmarks. (Wine/Appellations)
Blend of New Zealand hops that change based on availability, typically presenting a tropical fruit character. Used for both bittering and aromatic characteristics. (Beer/Hops)
Orcia Rosso
The Val d'Orcia is one of the most photographed areas of classic Tuscan countryside. It spans some 30 miles south from Siena to the flanks of Montalcino and Montepulciano. The region was awarded a broad DOC status in 2000 and it is the largest DOC appellation in Tuscany. The area is still devoted to classic mixed agriculture and vineyards are often widely spaced.

Red wines are based on Sangiovese and it must comprise at least 60% of red blends with the other Tuscan reds making up the balance. Varietally labeled Sangiovese must be 90%. Whites are similarly made from a range of the classic Tuscan grapes with Trebbiano making up at least 50% of a blend. No international varietals are permitted.

With such a wide range of micro-climates and producers, styles vary widely from cheap and cheerful to serious estate wines. Podere Forte and Val d'Orcia are leading producers of the latter. Finally, Vin Santo is a bit of a specialty in the region, and a number of producers bottle a version, which requires the blend to be a minimum of 50% Malvasia Bianca. (Wine/Appellations)
From "vin ordinaire," the term means any common wine of everyday quality. (Wine/Classification & Attributes)
Oregon is one of the United States most newly celebrated winemaking regions. It is now the 4th largest wine producer in the nation with more than 700 wineries. The state is primarily known for Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir production. In fact, Oregon is regarded as one of the premiere Pinot Noir producing regions in the world. Willamette Valley is on the receiving end much of this critical acclaim. The Pinot Noirs of Oregon can be described as supple, blueberry flecked wonders reminiscent of a forest floor, pairing well with pork and salmon. (Wine/Appellations)
Originalabzug is a term sometimes found on German wine labels to denote "Estate Bottled." (Wine/Classification & Attributes)
Orvieto is an italian wine region located in Umbria and Lazio. Orvieto DOC is a blend based on Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes. These wines are typically dry, though sweet varieties are produced in small quantities. Red wines are produced in this region as well under the Rosso Orvietano DOC. These reds are blends of Aleatico, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Scaniolo, Cesanese, Ciligiolo, Colorino, Dolcetto, Merlot, Montepulciano, Pinto Nero and Sangiovese. (Wine/Appellations)
The natural movement of fluids through a membrane or porous partition such as a cell wall. Fluid always tends to move through the membrane towards a solution of higher concentration, in an effort to equalize the concentrations on both sides of the membrane. (Wine/Chemistry & Flaws)
Ouillage is the act of topping wine barrels during barrel-aging in an effort to keep the barrels refilled as they lose volume due to evaporation of liquid through the barrel staves. Topping barrels is traditional but recent work shows that to top barrels during aging actually adds oxygen to the wine rather than protecting it from oxygen! (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Production)
Outer Coastal Plain
The Outer Coastal Plain AVA is one of three such appellations in the state of New Jersey; it is situated in the southeastern reaches of the state. While this zone covers more than 2 million acres, just under 600 acres are planted to vines. Plantings are near bodies of water (such as the Atlantic Ocean) and soils are primarily sand and sandy loam. The bulk of the production here is with fruit wines, made from products such as raspberries, strawberries and pomegranates. Leading varieties for table wine include Chardonnay,Merlot, Muscat and hybrids such as Niagara and Chambourcin. (Wine/Appellations)
A vine which carries more crop than it can reasonably ripen is called overcropped. Vines which aren't pruned drastically enough tend to set too much crop. Wine produced from fruit of an overcropped vine is always poorer in quality than if the crop were of normal size. (Wine/Other)
Overcropping is the act of allowing vines to set too much fruit (usually by pruning too lightly in winter). (Wine/Other)
Oxidation refers to adverse change in beverage flavor, stability and/or color caused by excessive exposure to air. (Wine/Chemistry & Flaws)
Oxidized is a flavor term to describe a beverage which has suffered excessive oxidation. During oxidation, beverages lose their original freshness and take on a darker color, eventually becoming quite brown. The fruity flavor is replaced by one reminiscent of paper or "vegetable soup," later becoming nutty or maple-like and, finally, meat-like and dead. (Wine,Beer,Spirits,Sake,Mead/Tasting Terms Chemistry & Flaws)
Ozark Highlands
The Ozark Highlands AVA, established in 1987, is located in southern Missouri in the Ozark Mountains. As with numerous appellations outside of the western states, this is a very large AVA, encompassing 1.2 million acres. While fruit wines were previously quite important, production recently has shifted to hybrid and international varieties, such as Norton, Chardonel, Pinot Noir and Syrah. There are about a dozen wineries in this zone; most of the wine is consumed locally. (Wine/Appellations)
Ozark Mountain
Ozark Mountain is a wine appellation (AVA) that is situated largely in Missouri, as well as sections of neighboring states Arkansas and Oklahoma. This is a large production area, covering 3.5 million acres and includes several AVA's within its boundaries. Primary grapes include Norton, Chardonel, St. Vincent, Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc, Catawba, and Concord. A large range of styles are produced from dry to sweet to fortified.

As with most of the central United States, this is a continental climate, with hot summers and very cold winters with heavy precipitation. Several rivers traverse the appellation, with the Missouri at the northern limits, and the Mississippi and Arkansas at the eastern and southern borders, respectively. Much of the region's locals are of German decent and for that reason the wines can be a beautiful match with home-style German dishes. (Wine/Appellations)