12 Untranslatable Words You’ll Want to Use in Wine Country

Ready for the years’ first trip to California’s incredible wine country? You probably already know what “tannic” and “minerality” mean. However, you may want to take a moment to play with these twelve untranslatable words.

With that in mind, we’ve combed through our stacks to find vocabulary that you can use. We want to be able to try and describe the feelings that a visit to wine country inspires. However, just as these words are untranslatable, so are the experiences indescribable.

They capture, not the wine itself, but the experiences of wine country. After all, wine isn’t just about what happens on the tongue. It’s about connection: to our senses, to our friends and loved ones, and to the bounty of the land.

Here we go:

1. Armogan (“AR-mor-gan,” Nautical English, presumed from Old French) – A nautical term used to describe the kind of weather that sailors find most auspicious for setting out on a journey. Clear, gorgeous, with just the right amount of wind. But it’s also the original #YOLO — it suggests that if the ship doesn’t set sail during this weather, it will run the risk of demurrage. We think it’s probably also apt to describe an amazing day for a tasting — or, metaphorically, the perfect moment to open that bottle you’ve been waiting to uncork. 

2. Iktsuarpok (“in-EE-to-ar-pock,” Inuktitut) – This word describes what you do when you’re waiting excitedly for someone to arrive: that moment when you keep going to the window to see if anyone’s coming. Is my ride here? 

3. Jijivisha (“jih-JIH-vih-shah,” Hindi) – Similar to “joie de vivre,” this word is used to describe someone who is truly enjoying life, and wants it to last a long time. Hopefully long enough to make your way through your collection, and always with friends. Speaking of which.

4. Retrouvailles (“RHEH-trew-VIE,” French) – The joyful feeling of being reunited with a dear friend you haven’t seen in years. 

5. Apapachar (“AH-pa-pa-char,” Nahuatl & Spanish) – “To hug with the soul.” The same word exists in Spanish, but is typically used with a more subdued meaning to say “hug” or “spoil.” The first thing you do upon retrouvailles. 

6. Flâner (“FLAH-nay,” French) – Strolling the streets of Paris in a leisurely way. It implies no goal or destination, but purely the simple pleasure of soaking up the city’s beauty. We’re pretty sure you can do this in some vineyards, too — soaking in the sunlight, opening the perfect bottle.

7. Loisible (“lwah-SEE-bluh,” French) – This adjective describes having the liberty to do as you please. The joy, abandon, and delight of being truly in the moment.

8. Merak (“mehr-AK” – Serbian) – The bliss and sense of oneness that comes from truly enjoying simple pleasures. A subtle Chardonnay paired with the perfect cheese. A warm breeze through the ripening olive trees. This beautiful word can also be used as a name for children of any gender.

9. Sobretaula (“SOH-bray-TOU-la,” Catalan), or Sobremesa (“SOH-bray-MEH-sah,” Spanish) – This is the word you’ve been looking for to describe the time spent socializing with friends after a meal — those moments where you feel a sense of perfect togetherness, and it feels like you have all the time in the world. 

10. Goya (“GOY-ah,” Urdu) – Used in storytelling, this is the moment when a story or fantasy becomes so intense it feels real — for example, the fantasy of running away to Sonoma and living full time on a gorgeous rolling vineyard in the golden sunlight. 

11. Komorebi (“koh-MOH-reh-bee,” Japanese) – This word describes the dappled light that falls through the leaves of tall trees. Of course, you won’t see it among the vines. You’re more likely to experience komorebi as you enter and exit a vineyard, or at a garden tasting, through groves of cypress and olive. 

12. Saudade (“sau-DA-deh, European Portuguese, or “Sew-DA-dgeh,” Brazilian Portuguese) – This word describes the bittersweet feeling when someone or something you loved is gone. That wine you first tasted in the Russian River Valley, or the friends you tasted it with, and the way they made you laugh until you cried. It’s a kind of emptiness which, like your glass, can still be refilled… especially if you book with us now. Bon voyage!

“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

– Oscar Wilde

Need some joie de vivre?

We’d love to connect and make California’s indescribable wine country yours. Contact us!