Winetech, the organisation that coordinates research, training and technology transfer in the wine industry, and nonprofit organisation South African Wine Industry Information & Systems (Sawis) have collaborated to create a trilingual wine dictionary for the South African industry.
The online dictionary, which can be downloaded free from the Sawis website, contains 3 500 wine industry terms, which are currently available in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, while the definitions of the terms and subject fields to which the terms belong are supplied in English.
The next phase in the trilingual wine dictionary initiative is to translate the definitions of the terms into Afrikaans and Xhosa, says project manager Dr Michele van der Merwe.
The developers chose the three languages to help newcomers to the industry, as an increasing number of Xhosa speakers in the Western Cape are becoming involved in the wine industry, she says, adding that these are the most commonly used languages in the province.
Further, the dictionary also seeks to develop Xhosa as an academic language in which tertiary-level students can communicate.
The dictionary’s website says the wine industry has expanded significantly over the last few years and it has become important for role-players to successfully communicate with one another.
One of the requirements for successful communication is that specialised terms are used correctly and that users attach the same meaning to a specific term.
As a result, Van der Merwe says the dictionary is aimed at providing a communicative tool for tertiary viticulture and oenology students and lecturers, viticulturists and oenologists, wine producers and makers, wine marketers and wine enthusiasts on the plethora of wine industry terms.
Wine industry research and related knowledge fields have advanced since the last wine dictionary was released in 1973 and this created the need to develop a new updated dictionary, she says.
There have been many new developments and numerous new concepts created, specifically in the field of biotechnology. The dictionary, therefore, helps to develop Afrikaans and Xhosa words and definitions for these concepts.
The specialist dictionary focuses on the subject field of oenology and viticulture and related subject fields to fill the gap in the industry for a specialist wine dictionary.
“What makes the online dictionary a better choice than a printed version is that ongoing research and findings can be added to the online dictionary when changes in the industry occur, which would not be the case with a printed version,” says Van der Merwe.