A ping today from friend and colleague Meg reminded me that I had neglected to create widgets on DoBianchi.com beta for my Italian wine terminology resources: please click here for the Italian Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project; here for the Italian Wine Terms Translated index; and please see the Italian Winery Designations Explained glossary below. Thanks, Meg, for the nudge! And buon weekend yall… Thanks for being here.
maso, Alpine farm, estate, from the post-classical Latin mansus, mansum, mansa, meaning dwelling, house, homestead, or manor (from the Latin manere, to remain), akin to the French mas and the English manse.
The term maso (pronounced MAH-zoh) is used exclusively in Trentino-Alto Adige to denote a working farm and farm house. Traditionally, this term — which is shared by Italian and Ladin — referred to a ranch (i.e., a farm where animals were also raised).
azienda, landed property, estate, domestic work, from the Spanish hacienda, from the Latin facienda meaning things to be done from facere, to do.
The term azienda means business and is used to denote a company or firm in Italian. An azienda agricola is a farming business; an azienda vinicola is a winery (a wine business).
ca’, see entry for casa.
cantina, literally cellar or cool place to store perishable goods and by extension tavern, probably from the Italian canto meaning angle or corner from the Greek kampthos, bend or angle.
The word cantina has a wide variety of applications in Italy (often used for restaurants and food stores, as well as wineries) and can be found across Italy to denote wine cellar.
casa, literally, a building, house, or habitation, from the Latin casa, a small house, cottage, hut, cabin, shed.
The term casa is used throughout Italy as a winery designation and is often abbreviated as ca’, as in Ca’ del Bosco (it’s important to note that it’s often erroneously abbreviated as Cà [using the accent grave diacritic], when in fact the inverted comma [‘] denotes the elision of the final two letters, often derived from a dialectal locution). A casa vinicola (pronounced KAH-sah vee-NEE-koh-lah) is a winery/négociant.
cascina, farm house or other structure used to house livestock or farm tools, from the late Latin capsia meaning case or receptacle.
It can also denote a structure used to store cheese and other dairy products. The term is used primarily northern Italy and especially in Piedmont to denote a farmhouse or winery or dairy farm.
fattoria, farm, from the Latin factore, literally maker, from facere meaning to do.
You find usage of fattoria generally in Tuscany where it can denote a winery or a farm, keeping in mind that most wine-producing estates in Tuscany also grow olives and other crops.
masseria, country house, estate, from the post-classical Latin mansus, mansum, mansa, meaning dwelling, house, homestead, or manor (from the Latin manere, to remain), akin to the French mas and the English manse.
The term masseria (pronounced mahs-seh-REE-ah) is used primarily in southern Italy and most widely in Puglia to denote a country estate.
podere, country estate with farm house (according to the Zingarelli dictionary), akin to the Italian potere, meaning can or to have the ability to do, from the late Latin, potere, from the Latin possum, meaning to be able, have power.
The term is used today primarily in Tuscany where it denotes, literally, a seat of [agricultural] power, hence the late Latin origin of the word, potere, literally power or possession (who also share kinship with the Latin etymon). According to the Cortelazzo etymological dictionary, the word first appears in the Middle Ages in northern Italy.
poggio, hill, from the Latin podium, meaning an elevated place, a height.
As Virgil wrote famously, Bacchus amat colles, Bacchus loves hills. The usage of poggio in Tuscany is documented dating back to the thirteenth century and the term appears in Dante. There are many related words like poggiolo, poggiuolo, and poggione.
ronco, literally a growing site on a hill used for farming, from the Latin runco, meaning to weed out, root up; to weed, clear of weeds, akin to the Friulian dialectal term ronc.
To my knowledge, ronco is used exclusively in Friuli. Akin to the Italian roncola or pruning hook, it probably comes from the past participle of the Friulian runcar (to clear of weeds, runcà, in other words, a site cleared for planting.
tenuta, a [land] holding or property, past participle of the Italian tenere, from the Latin teneo, meaning to hold, have, or keep.
Tenuta is a term that you see applied across northern and central Italy. Its relation to the pre-industrial age, when land ownership denoted nobility, is clear.
vignaiolo (plural vignaioli), vine tender or grape grower, derived from the Italian vigna, meaning vine, from the Latin vinea, vineyard, from the Latin vinum, wine.
Pronounced VEEN-y’eye-OH-loh (plural VEEN-y’eye-OH-lee), vignaiolo is used to denote a winery that uses estate-grown fruit in the production of its wines.