Capitalization of Wine Varietal Names

It has been apparent to me for a long time that capitalization of the names of grape varieties and wines that are named after them is highly inconsistent. I'm even inconsistent about it myself. Should it be, say, Chardonnay or chardonnay? Having grown up in Mississippi where any kind of alcoholic beverage was believed to be made by the devil himself, this was obviously not a topic covered in public school textbooks.
Is there any authoritative source on this matter that anyone knows about?
Vino To reply, add "x" between letters and numbers of e-mail address.
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Vino
i AM ALL FOR STANDARDIZATION. dALE
Seriously, I'm totally inconsistent. But if I had to give a rule, I'd say one does not capitalize grape names, but does capitalize grape names when used as a varietal name on label: Chablis is made from chardonnay. I like unoaked chardonnay. Pass the Montelena Chardonnay.
Dale
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Reply to
Dale Williams
> It has been apparent to me for a long time that capitalization of the > names of grape varieties and wines that are named after them is highly > inconsistent. I'm even inconsistent about it myself. Should it be, > say, Chardonnay or chardonnay? Having grown up in Mississippi where > any kind of alcoholic beverage was believed to be made by the devil > himself, this was obviously not a topic covered in public school > textbooks.
Of _course_ it was - in English class! Grape names are proper nouns, and therefore capitalized. Place names are also capitalized. For that matter, the Devil should be in caps if you are referring to Lucifer. ;^D
Tom S
Reply to
Tom S
"Tom S" skrev i melding news:%s6Cc.45$i55.27@newssvr27.news.prodigy.com... > > > Of _course_ it was - in English class! Grape names are proper nouns, and > therefore capitalized. Place names are also capitalized. ... Which leads me to ask the linguists of this group: Is it correct to capitalize, like I see most often here, words like American, English or Norwegian? These are not nouns, imho. Anders
Reply to
Anders Tørneskog
>Which leads me to ask the linguists of this group: Is it correct to >capitalize, like I see most often here, words like American, English or >Norwegian? These are not nouns, imho. >Anders
Anders,
a proper adjective (adjective formed by a proper noun) is capitalized.
Tom,
you're probably right. A quick google on chardonnay capitalization led to many opinions on the neccessity for having lots of cash in hand when starting a winery, and a couple references :
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and the French Champagne association, neither of which capitalize. But the pdfs on the UC-Davis site do- well, kinda. Interestingly, they use Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling. But they use Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, and Chenin blanc.
Just thinking about it, I would call grape varieties proper nouns. But think I'll continue my inconsistency. :)
Dale
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Reply to
Dale Williams
> Just thinking about it, I would call grape varieties proper nouns. But think > I'll continue my inconsistency. :)
Funny thing, Dale: when initiating the Viognier thread, I actually sat and asked myself whether the name should be capitalized. I came to the decision that it was a proper name and hence should be. FWIW, my litmus test for proper nouns is whether they take an article. Do you say "I drink Chardonnay" or "I drink the chardonnay"? Of course, collective nouns can get you into trouble, but few tests are foolproof ;-)
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
> >> Just thinking about it, I would call grape varieties proper nouns. But think >> I'll continue my inconsistency. :) > >Funny thing, Dale: when initiating the Viognier thread, I actually sat >and asked myself whether the name should be capitalized. I came to the >decision that it was a proper name and hence should be. FWIW, my litmus >test for proper nouns is whether they take an article. Do you say "I >drink Chardonnay" or "I drink the chardonnay"? Of course, collective >nouns can get you into trouble, but few tests are foolproof ;-)
The usual definition for proper nouns is that they are names given to unique entities. Personally I think it is pushing the rule a bit to say that a *type* of grape is a unique entity, but I guess there are precendents in other horticultural areas and, regardless, an initial cap does seem to be common usage.
-- Steve Slatcher
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Steve Slatcher
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Steve Slatcher
"Dale Williams" skrev i melding news:20040623123738.04588.00000498@mb-m10.aol.com... > >Which leads me to ask the linguists of this group: Is it correct to > >capitalize, like I see most often here, words like American, English or > >Norwegian? These are not nouns, imho. > >Anders > > Anders, > > a proper adjective (adjective formed by a proper noun) is capitalized. > Thanks. It is different in Scandinavian, you see. Neither Chardonnay nor American would be capitalized - only what I have to call 'own names' - for individual objects, like Christian names or, say, city names. Germany on the other hand capitalizes all nouns, but not adjectives (right, Michael?)
So, capitalizing adjectives looks funny to me :-) Anders
Reply to
Anders Tørneskog
I note that the NY Times stylebook must advocate non-capitalization, as today's article on American bubblies doesn't capitalize pinot noir or chardonnay.
A quick check shows Karen McNeil's Wine Bible doesn't capitalize, but Andrea Immer does.
Sounds like war. Dale
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Dale Williams
> It has been apparent to me for a long time that capitalization of the > names of grape varieties and wines that are named after them is highly > inconsistent. I'm even inconsistent about it myself. Should it be, > say, Chardonnay or chardonnay? Having grown up in Mississippi where > any kind of alcoholic beverage was believed to be made by the devil > himself, this was obviously not a topic covered in public school > textbooks. > > Is there any authoritative source on this matter that anyone knows > about?
Here's a journalist's perspective:
According to The Associated Press Stylebook, a grape variety (among other plant species) would not be capitalized unless the origin of the word is a proper noun. For example, cabernet sauvignon and merlot wouldn't be capitalized but Muller-Thurgau and Ehrenfelser would.
So that is what you would see in a newspaper. Most wine magazines, however, have adopted an alternative style, which is to capitalize wine grape varieties as proper nouns. But that isn't always consistent from magazine to magazine.
For example, my magazine capitalizes all grape varieties, yet another magazine I write a wine column for insists on researching the origins of the name to see if it's rooted in a proper noun. Therefore, in that magazine, "merlot" will be lowercase but "Syrah" will be uppercase (based on the myth that the grape may have come from Egypt through the Sicilian city of Syracusa).
I think this style must be confusing to the reader, and since clarity is one of the goals of writing, then consistency (one way or the other) is preferred.
Andy Perdue, editor Wine Press Northwest
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Reply to
Andy Perdue
>According to The Associated Press Stylebook, a grape variety (among >other plant species) would not be capitalized unless the origin of the >word is a proper noun. For example, cabernet sauvignon and merlot >wouldn't be capitalized but Muller-Thurgau and Ehrenfelser would.
So what would they recommend for Chardonnay I wonder?
My understanding is that there are competing theories about whether the grape variety or the village came first. Any capitalisation rule that requires detailed knowledge of etymology seems doomed to failure.
-- Steve Slatcher
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Steve Slatcher
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Reply to
Steve Slatcher
>I note that the NY Times stylebook must advocate non-capitalization, as today's >article on American bubblies doesn't capitalize pinot noir or chardonnay. > >A quick check shows Karen McNeil's Wine Bible doesn't capitalize, but Andrea >Immer does.
Just done a quick check through my library, with authors/editors Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, Clive Coates, Anthony Hanson, and pubishers Mitchell Beazley (which must be quite influential), Oxford and Cassel. All use intial caps.
-- Steve Slatcher
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Steve Slatcher
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Reply to
Steve Slatcher
> According to The Associated Press Stylebook, a grape variety (among > other plant species) would not be capitalized unless the origin of the > word is a proper noun. For example, cabernet sauvignon and merlot > wouldn't be capitalized but Muller-Thurgau and Ehrenfelser would. > For example, my magazine capitalizes all grape varieties, yet another > magazine I write a wine column for insists on researching the origins > of the name to see if it's rooted in a proper noun. Therefore, in that > magazine, "merlot" will be lowercase but "Syrah" will be uppercase > (based on the myth that the grape may have come from Egypt through the > Sicilian city of Syracusa). > Andy Perdue, editor > Wine Press Northwest >
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Andy, since you have a vested interest in where this is going, I propose that you choose a style for our news group to use and maybe we can influence all those confused people out there in the print world. Bill
Reply to
Bill
editor@winepressnw.com (Andy Perdue) wrote in news:467cd163.0406232034.8afc958@posting.google.com: > Vino wrote in message > news:... > I'm even inconsistent about it myself. Should it >> be, say, Chardonnay or chardonnay? > > Here's a journalist's perspective: > > According to The Associated Press Stylebook, a grape variety (among > other plant species) would not be capitalized unless the origin of the > word is a proper noun. Therefore Chardonnay after the commune in France?
Reply to
jcoulter

: Here's a journalist's perspective:
: For example, my magazine capitalizes all grape varieties, yet another : magazine I write a wine column for insists on researching the origins : of the name to see if it's rooted in a proper noun. Therefore, in that : magazine, "merlot" will be lowercase but "Syrah" will be uppercase : (based on the myth that the grape may have come from Egypt through the : Sicilian city of Syracusa).
So I guess Chardonnay would be capitalized since it *may* have once-upon-a-time originated from near the actual French village of Chardonnay??
I say, "Why can't we all just get along?" :)
Mark S
Reply to
<mjsverei
Salut/Hi , le/on 24 Jun 2004 12:31:31 -0500, tu disais/you said:- > So I guess Chardonnay would be capitalized since it *may* have >once-upon-a-time originated from near the actual French village of >Chardonnay?? > >I say, "Why can't we all just get along?" :)
We can!! But we can still have different opinions as to what would be correct usage.
I'm totally confused. If pressed, I'd suggest that the cepage would _not_ be capitalised, if it were being described as a component of a wine. "Red Burgundy is usually made from the pinot noir". However, when describing the cepage for itself, I'd capitalise it. "The Pinot Noir is a difficult vine to grow". However, I noticed that when I was trying to type the grape name in the first example, my instinct was to try to capitalise it. Sigh.
As for the business of capitalising the grape if it takes the name of a person or a village, I really couldn't bring myself to type "White Burgundy is made from the Chardonnay, while red Burgundy is made from pinot noir." or "the best Rheingau wines are made from riesling, and fortunately little Muller-Thurgau is found there."
-- All the Best Ian Hoare
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Ian Hoare
> As for the business of capitalising the grape if it takes the name of a > person or a village, I really couldn't bring myself to type "White Burgundy > is made from the Chardonnay, while red Burgundy is made from pinot noir." or > "the best Rheingau wines are made from riesling, and fortunately little > Muller-Thurgau is found there."
I'm with you. Consistency is key, especially within a single paragraph. My partner and I argued this for a while before deciding to capitalize all wine varietals on our website. My final theory being: I love this stuff, let's give it some respect. Totally without grammatical value, but what the heck.
e. winemonger www.winemonger.com
Reply to
winemonger
> > Of _course_ it was - in English class! Grape names are proper nouns, and > > therefore capitalized. Place names are also capitalized. ... > Which leads me to ask the linguists of this group: Is it correct to > capitalize, like I see most often here, words like American, English or > Norwegian? These are not nouns, imho. > Anders
Or how about "Southern California"? Also here in the States we refer to a few regions such as "the South" and "New England." What to do?
e. winemonger www.winemonger.com
Reply to
winemonger
> Germany on the other hand capitalizes all nouns, but not > adjectives (right, Michael?)
In principle yes, but derived adjectives that finish on -er are capitalized, as in Kremser Wein, Wachauer Wein. (Those ending on -isch are not, however, as in rheinische Weine.)
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
"Ian Hoare" shared his thoughts thus...... > > We can!! But we can still have different opinions as to what would be > correct usage. > > I'm totally confused. If pressed, I'd suggest that the cepage would _not_ > be capitalised, if it were being described as a component of a wine. > "Red Burgundy is usually made from the pinot noir". > > However, when describing the cepage for itself, I'd capitalise it. > > "The Pinot Noir is a difficult vine to grow". > >However, I noticed that when I was trying to type the grape name in > the first example, my instinct was to try to capitalise it. Sigh. > > As for the business of capitalising the grape if it takes the name of a > person or a village, I really couldn't bring myself to type "White > Burgundy is made from the Chardonnay, while red Burgundy > is made from pinot noir." or > "the best Rheingau wines are made from riesling, and fortunately little > Muller-Thurgau is found there."
I, myself, was a shocking English student, so I have kept my ignorance on this subject to myself, until this point.
That said, I have visited many vineyards which have planted chardonnay, or riesling or pinot noir - but offer most pleasant Chardonnay or Riesling or Pinot Noir.
To me, White Burgundy is made from chardonnay - but I really love my Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc !
Go figure !!!!
--- st.helier (the grammatically challenged !!!!!)
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st.helier (the grammatically challenged !!!!!)
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st.helier

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