It is I who’s a stickler for using the right word.
(Someone just said to me, “It is I? Isn’t it, It’s me?” No… sorry, you missed school the day that one was explained. “Is” is a copulative verb (the verb “to be”), and takes a subjective pronoun after any use of the verb “to be.” It is I, it is she, it is he, it is they, etc.)
When I came into the wine business, I learned most of what I did from others for the first couple of years. Then, I decided to take copious college units to catch up, which included viticulture, enology, sales, marketing, PR, Spanish I and II… the list goes on…
In all of that, I never came across which word is correct to use in which instance; “variety” and/or “varietal.” Then, on a wine blog I saw something that made me stop and take notice.
David Graves of Saintsbury Vineyard made reference to the misuse of the word “varietal.”
He certainly got my attention. I didn’t know I could be using the word incorrectly. I sent David an E-mail asking him to please explain… Because I have to write so much, and use the word as much as a mother uses the word “milk” with kids, I don’t want to be misusing either word.
Here’s his explanation, and we all need to take notice, if we’re responsible for copy writing…
Variety versus varietal
University of California at Davis, if you care about correct usage:
- Variety is a noun.
- Varietal is an adjective.
- Example, I love the varietal characteristic of this variety.
It’s that simple.