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🍷 Wine in French – Useful Terms and Expressions

Julie By Julie - updated on Jun 17, 2020
french wine phrases

I love wine, don’t you? Let’s study the French vocabulary to talk about wine, describe it, and enjoy some fun French wine expressions.

Bonjour! I’m Julie, your French immersion teacher in Provence. I’m lucky to live near Châteauneuf-du-Pape and I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time.

Here are lists of French wine terms.

1 – How to Say Wine in French?

  1. Wine in French – le vin
  2. French slang for wine – le pinard

We also use the region name as synonyms for wine in French: le bordeaux, le beaujolais, le champagne…

2 – Types of French Wines

Red wine, white, rosé…

  1. le vin rouge – red wine
  2. le vin blanc – white wine
  3. le rosé – rosé wine
  4. le champagne – champagne
  5. un vin sec (dry)
  6. un vin doux (sweet)
  7. un vin corsé (full-bodied)

Note that you don’t have to say « vin », you can just say the colour.
For example, while you order wine at the restaurant, you should say :
« vous avez du rouge ? »
OR « je vais prendre du blanc »
OR « Moi j’adore le rosé en été ! »

3 – French Wine Terms

  1. une bouteille – a bottle
  2. un bouchon – a cork
  3. un tire-bouchon – a corkscrew
  4. une étiquette – a label
  5. le cul de la bouteille – the bottom of the bottle (one of the only serious ways you can use the word « cul » – which means “ass” in colloquial French)
  6. un verre à pied – a wine glass
  7. une carafe – a wine carafe
  8. le cépage – grape variety : it can be grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, etc.
  9. le millésime – the vintage

4 – French Wine Industry Vocabulary

  1. un vigneron, une vigneronne – a wine grower
  2. un sommelier, une sommelière – a wine waiter
  3. un / une œnologue – an oenologist
  4. un / une caviste – a cellarman
  5. un amateur / une amatrice de vin – a wine lover
  6. une vigne – a vine
  7. un vignoble – a vineyard
  8. un raisin – grape 🍇
  9. le vin – the wine
  10. une région viticole – a winegrowing region
  11. la vendange – the harvest
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5 – How to Talk About Wine in French

A – Good Wine 😁

C’est un bon vin – it’s a good wine

Pas mal ! (rising intonation + optional : smiling + rising eyebrows) Literal meaning ‘not bad’ → but which translates in American English as « Oh my Gosh ! It’s amazing ! »

Ça se laisse boire !
Lit. it’s very drinkable (ironic)

C’est un grand vin
It’s a great wine

B – Bad Wine 🥺

Ce n’est pas un bon vin – it’s not a good wine

Je n’aime pas trop ce vin… il est trop sec / sucré / doux / aigre !
I don’t like it so much.. it’s to dry / sweet / sweet / sharp !

Pas mal… (falling intonation)
Not bad, meaning ‘kind of bad’ or just say « Bof ! », which is a French onomatopoeia to say you don’t think it’s anything special.

C’est du jus de raisin ! C’est de la vinasse ! C’est de la piquette
It’s a cheap wine !

Ce vin est bouchonné.
This wine is corked

6 – Wine Tasting Vocabulary

Here are some useful terms and expressions if you plan on drinking wine in France.

  1. faire une dégustation de vin – make a wine tasting
  2. aller boire un verre / aller prendre un verre / aller boire un coup – go get a drink
  3. un bar à vin – a wine bar
  4. une cave – a cellar
  5. je bois du vin – I drink wine
  6. je ne bois pas de vin à midi – I don’t drink wine at lunch
  7. faire tourner le vin dans son verre – swirl the wine in your glass
  8. prendre une gorgée – take a sip
  9. les arômes – the aromas
  10. cracher – spit the wine out (always if your driving, of course :)

I’ve written a whole article about wine tasting in France. It’s full of wine tasting expression. Check it out!

7 – How to Say Drunk in French

Hum… hopefully you won’t have to use these!

Drunk = Soûl

The typical word to say drunk in French is soul. Or is it soûl or saoul? The three spellings are possible!

However in the masculine, there is only one way to pronounce drunk in French [soo]

In the feminine, you’ll add an e, and the l will be pronounced [sool].

Synonyms for Drunk in French

There are so many synonyms for drunk in French!

  1. ivre,
  2. éméché (meaning tipsy)
  3. gris,
  4. mûr,
  5. cuit (slang)

6 French Expressions for Being Drunk

  1. Je suis un peu pompette (colloquial)
    I’m a little tipsy
  2. Il a un peu trop bu
    He drank a little too much
  3. Il est bourré (slang)
    He’s drunk
  4. Il a la descente facile
    Lit. easy descent (from mouth to stomach) → he’s a jolly good drinker!
  5. Il a vraiment bu comme un trou
    Lit. drink like a hole → drink like a fish
  6. Il s’est pinté (slang)
  7. Il était déchiré (modern slang)
poster of expressions to say drunk in French

8 – Useful French Wine Sentences At a Restaurant

If you’d like to order some wine in a restaurant, here is a useful list of useful wine sentences.

  1. demander la carte des vins – ask for the wine list
  2. Vous pouvez me suggérer un vin, s’il vous plaît ?
    Could you suggest a wine please?
  3. Qu’est-ce que vous me conseillez de prendre ?
    What would you recommend?
  4. Je vais prendre du vin, est-ce que je pourrais avoir la carte ?
    I’m going to have wine, may I have the wine list?
  5. Est-ce que c’est possible de prendre du vin au verre ?
    Is it possible to have wine by the glass 
  6. J’aimerais un verre de rosé s’il vous plaît.
    I would like a glass of rosé wine, please.

Avoid « je veux », which is quite agressive when asking for something.
However you can say :

  1. je vais prendre…s’il vous plaît – I’ll have…
  2. je voudrais / j’aimerais / je prendrais ….s’il vous plaît (using the conditional) – I would like/take

Here you go, I hope all this will spark your desire to come for a French immersion at my apartment and discover all these wonderful wines.

If you come to my house to learn French, I’ll take you for wine tastings in the area – maybe to try the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines – and you’ll be able to practice what you’ve leaned today! See you soon in Provence 🍷🌞

Attention, l’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé ! (Literally: careful, drinking too much alcohol is detrimental to your health = drink responsibly)

In my next article, I’ll teach you how the different steps to taste a wine like a pro. See you soon!

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