Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety

Vinted on December 18, 2012 binned in best of, commentary

Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety.* Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety.

Cheers!

* – Don’t believe me? LOOK IT UP!

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    Comments

  • Drew Matich


    Thank you.

    • 1WineDude


      Drew – my pleasure. Use your powers for good! ;-)

  • masi3v


    Ran out of coffee again Joe?

    • 1WineDude


      Masi3v – that, and what little patience I’d had left…!

  • Thomas Pellechia


    I want to say it might work, Joe, but after years of imparting the same information, I've lost faith in it getting through. Still working on nuclear vs. nucular!

    • 1WineDude


      Thomas, as Triumph, the 2nd most well known Canadian power rock trio, once wrote, ” fight the good fight!” :-)

  • Wayne


    Uh Oh looks like my pet peeve is contagious.
    Variety=NOUN
    Varietal=ADJECTIVE.
    Easy, right? … RIGHT?

    • 1WineDude


      Wayne – both can actually be nouns, I think, but not in the way varietal is commonly used, alas.

  • Debbie Gioquindo


    This past fall I ran a tweet chat for a local publication and the guest was a coffee roaster. Coffee has varietals too, just like wine. As I was asking questions about the varietals the owner of the publication was sending me nasty emails telling me I am wrong, it's variety and to stop. I turned around and sent her the links to varietal vs variety and the site all about coffee varietals. She never said another word and I don't think I will be working for her the next time around.

    • 1WineDude


      Debbie – is that single varietal coffee? Do you have the link?

    • MyrddinGwin


      It's bad to have to deal with the wrath of someone who is stuck-up on some relatively mild issue; it's worse when they're wrong. Even worse than that is when you have to talk to that person to find something, a Cabernet Franc, for example. The only thing worse than that is if that person's supposed to be a respected authority on that subject he or she is wrong about.

      • 1WineDude


        MyrddinGwin – been visiting the PLCB lately? :-)

  • Wine Harlots


    I think this is the wine version of Rick-rolling… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

    • 1WineDude


      RICK ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!

  • fredric koeppel


    I have been saying the same thing for years. Variety = noun. Varietal = adjective. We're probably facing a losing battle though, like trying to persuade football people and commentators to say "deFENSE" instead of "DEEfense."

    • 1WineDude


      Fredric – best of luck with that one :-)

  • Todd - VT Wine Media


    Similar pet peeve, and maybe it's just wayward spell checkers, or just confusing, but it makes my teeth hurt when there is a misuse of:

    palate – YES, this one is your mouth, used when tasting wine!

    pallet – the wood skid that wine cases are delivered on, however, sometimes cheap red wine can taste like one.

    palette – an array of colors, or a board upon which one mixes paint. True, wine comes in many colors, and can sometimes taste like paint or even paint thinner. Also an AOC in southern France, but come on, there is barely a wikipedia entry.

    • 1WineDude


      Todd – good one!

  • Mark Cochard


    Dude, Drives me nuts and I see it all the time in peer publicaions, Outed folks on Linked-in, Had the WSET provide its official position, Used Jancis Robinson's quotes from the OCW and people still don't get it and more likely don't give a sh*t. Keep on tilting at those windmills as will I.

    From the OCW
    Varietal
    "descriptive term for a wine named after the dominant grape variety from which it is made. The word is increasingly misused in place of VINEVARIETY…" CAPS are the OCW's emphasis not mine

    • 1WineDude


      Mark – maybe we need to start a secret society? Membership requirement: correct use of the word varietal… :-)

  • Mark Cochard


    With a secret password and handshakae as well ……….. I'm in.

    • 1WineDude


      Mark – now all we need is a name…

    • MyrddinGwin


      "Have you seen the variety Vaccarèse in a varietal wine?"

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Varietal does have noun status, when it is used as a shortened version of "a varietal wine", not that I recommend that usage.

    If we want to go off on pet peeves: "conjure up," when we mean conjure, which already carries the "up."
    Closure when we mean closing. The useless and overused phrase, "sort of": it either is or it isn't. I could go on…

    • 1WineDude


      Thomas – let's keep this focused on wine, okay? :-)

  • laydenrobinson


    What's your point? LOL

    • 1WineDude


      Layden – I made a point? ;-)

  • pammci


    Sorry to be dense, but as only a casual wine drinker, I'm not totally sure I'm getting it. You mean because a varietal is specifically a wine made with a single grape? Does "variety" get much use in winespeak?

    Because reading through the comments, one argument I see a couple of times is that varietal is only an adjective, which hasn't been true for a while. (Tthe definition you linked above even refers back to the noun usage in the service of defining the adjective.)

    • 1WineDude


      Pammci – the misuse of the varietal when what is meant is variety when describing a wine grape is what we're on about here. Sorry for any confusion.

      • pammci


        Oh, that makes perfect sense. The idea that you were talking about describing the grape itself didn't even occur to me. (You can see how often I find myself talking about wine.)

  • @girlwithaglass


    You people have me so nervous, I just use the word grape. :-)

    • 1WineDude


      @girlwithaglass – that is the smart move for sure!

  • Michael Felong


    Beyond the riverrun I said yes I drank yes I will yes

    • 1WineDude


      Michael – Nice!

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Pammci,

    To make it clearer for you. Grapevines are in the Vitis species within which are sub species such as Vitis vinifera, Vitis labrusca and so on. Within the sub species, are vines that produce a number of grape "varieties" like Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and so on.

    When a wine is marketed as representing a single grape variety, it is called a "varietal wine." In the everyday usage, it's called a "varietal."

    Grapes do not grow in their sub species as varietal wines–they grow as grape varieties. That's why the adjective/noun delineation exists.

    • pammci


      Thanks, I get it now, I honestly just wasn't even getting that people were applying both of those words to the grapes. Silly me.

  • Mark Cochard


    Sorry Thomas, My botany back ground speaking here. Vitis is the Genus, lubrusca and vinifera are species after that we have cultivars which we also call varieties. Note the cap on Vitus and lower case on vinifera botany systematics at work here.

  • Jay


    Hmm wait, Merriam-Webster says that "varietal" can be both an adjective and a noun….

  • Mark Cochard


    Jay, This is obviously a change in use that happens over time and the arbiters of words rightly or wrongly add the misused word into the lexicon. If it's in writing it's gotta be true. :-)

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Oops, Mark. Of course, you are correct. I got that confused for sure.

    Yeah, it's only words…

  • Jay


    Mark, I don't agree with that. Too easy a cop-out. By that logic, thousands of words that made it into the English vocabulary over decades (and centuries) would not have legitimacy, only because at some point in the past they were not used that way. Language is not something static, it evolves.
    :-)

  • Jay


    oh and here's another source that shows "varietal" is a noun: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/
    The Brits are fairly fussy about the English language and the Oxford dictionaries are very well respected. They seem to agree with this use of "varietal".

    • MyrddinGwin


      Lexicographers really can be a shifty bunch for the English language–often, they tend to be more descriptivist (describing how a language is commonly used) rather than prescriptivist (prescribing how the language really ought to be used). Many languages, such as French, have authorities that dictate how the grammar of the language must work, and how different words should be spelt. English can be quite a bit more anarchic, since different regions prefer a more hyper-corrected spelling to match distant Latin origins of words rather than nearer-in-time-and-space French.
      Sadly, English spelling did end one relationship I was in. A line must be drawn when the letter "H" is omitted from the words "What", "Why", "When", and "Where"; a relationship with someone who omits the "H" in such words is simply doomed. Especially when it's too difficult to determine whether a sentence means, "Where [are] you going to meet me?" (brackets mine) versus "Were you going to meet me?"
      A more grave wine-related threat I've seen on the rise recently is misuse of the word "Vintage". Every time I hear the word "Vintage" misused, a tiny part of my soul loses its will to continue on.

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Yes, Jay, as I posted above. Varietal is used as a noun as a shortened version of "varietal wine."

    I always wonder why we bother to delineate adjectives and nouns if all we have to do is disregard usage and make them whatever we want them to be?

  • Jay


    Thomas, I think we bother to delineate adjectives and nouns because it ensures somewhat of a short- to medium term consistency of use and results in SLOW changes to a language. If there were no rules/delineations at all, languages would change literally every day, with quite chaotic consequences.

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Jay,

    That is my point–I was using sarcasm to make it, which doesn't work online without applying those emoticoncoctions. Incidentally, i feel the same way about verbs being made into nouns. I know that incentive is sued as both a noun and an adjective, but we certainly don't need to incentivize anyone to use it as a tr. verb ;)

    In any case, we have strayed from the real subject: I have heard many people say something like they are going to plant new varietals in their vineyard. You don't grow varietals.

    • MyrddinGwin


      Someone planting varietals in a vineyard probably should be warned that most people cellar wines by keeping them on racks indoors. As well, most wines have a rather difficult time reproducing on their own.

      • 1WineDude


        MyrddinGwin – :-)

  • Mark Cochard


    Jay, I was using sarcasm as well, but here is where the difference lies;
    there are disciplines that have there own
    vernacular and usage that don't enter the realm of common usage.
    Here is an example that I feel illustrates this point.In viticulture we have
    a distinction between a crossing and a hybrid where they mean different
    things crossing is a cross between the same species. Where a hybrid is
    a cross btetween species. In common genetics terms there is no distinction.

  • gabe


    Not sure what set this off, but I'm kind of surprised to see a post like this from you, Joe. You are usually so adamant about making wine accessible to the masses, and not too snobby or intimidating. I wouldn't expect you to get so worked up about semantics.
    Don't get me wrong, I would never claim to be holier than thou. After all, I sent you a full page letter describing my theories on native fermentation. I could spend hours talking to someone about why pH is a better measure of balance than alcohol levels. But that's because I'm a wine snob :-) I always viewed you as the wine anti-snob.
    So I have to ask, what gives?

    • 1WineDude


      Hey gabe – no snobbishness was meant, this is simply a pet peeve of mine that I've harped on for a few years here on 1WD. I thought it would be a fun way to give it another airing, that's all. Also, anyone who misuses the term varietal is officially a douchebag. Just kidding. I think. :-)

      • gabe


        lol. just so you know, douchebag is not a synonym for dickwad

        • 1WineDude


          Gabe – nicely played! :-)

  • Michael Felong


    All work and no play makes Dude a dull boy.

    • 1WineDude


      Michael – I've been called a lot of things, but dull usually isn't one of them!

  • jim silver


    Pet peeves notwithstanding, "varietal" is a noun (as well as an adjective) and in use since Charles Darwin first used it in 1866. In American English since 1941 as it relates to grapes.

    I'm not sure why everyone is so consumed with this, but to say "never" use it as a noun is just not correct.

    • 1WineDude


      Jim – yep, I'm aware. I think there's been a good deal of confusion on that in the comments, but the noun usage of the word isn't that common. Anyway, hence the ” synonym” in the title. Cheers!

    • Raelinn


      people always need something to bitch about and a soapbox to stand on

      • 1WineDude


        Raelinn – thanks. C'mon, it's therapeutic, right? :-)

  • Raelinn


    varietal (adj.)
    1866, a biologists' word (first attested in Darwin), from variety. In reference to wines, meaning "made from a single variety of grape" is first attested 1941, American English. As a noun, in this sense, attested from 1955.

  • Mark Cochard


    Here is another bloggers comment on varietal/variety debate http://thegrapebelt.com/ by Thomas Reilly

    • 1WineDude


      Mark – GREAT explanation!

  • Skip Coomber


    Congrats on your nomination and eventual repeat victory. Thank you for this great post!

    I think that "varietal" is misused because it just sounds so damn cool to say it. Sort of a secret language word that makes you sound smart. Of course, that means misusing it is wonderfully ironic. I generally take the time to send online writers the Wikipedia link to "varietal" and will also send them a link to this post. Thank you for being the one who enlightened me back in 2012. –I thought I was so cool. Now I'm cool because of you.

    Not quite ready to market my wines, but will send you samples when appropriate. Not exclusively for self-serving purposes, but also because I am genuinely proud of our juice and labels and hope that you will like them too.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, Skip. We must fight the good fight in solidarity, brother! Looking forward to tasting the wares. Cheers!

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