To understand more about wine, you’ll first want to know the different types of wines.

Types of Wine: Categories

All types of wine fall into one of these categories:

White Wine, Red Wine, Rose Wine, Sparkling Wine, Dessert Wine, and Fortified Wine.

Within each of these categories will be several specific grape types. An individual grape type is called a varietal.

A wine’s character and flavor will be determined by the specific grape varietal grown and how those grapes are treated throughout the wine making process.

Reading wine grape descriptions will be very helpful. Tasting the different types of wines is the best way to distinguish one from the other.

Shopping for wine and becoming familiar with wine labels will also help you learn about the different types of wine.


Types of Wine

In the United States, wines are usually referred to by the type or variety of grape (varietal) grown to produce them.

For example, you’ll see the words “Pinot Noir” or “Chardonnay” written on the label.

Many wines are a combination or “blend” of two or more grape varietals. Legally, the label only has to reveal the name of a single grape varietal if at least 75% of the wine is made from that one grape type.

The other 25% of the wine can be made from one
or more other grape varietals and those do not
have to be listed.

However, many US wine makers voluntarily list all grape varietals used in a wine blend on their label. Sometimes you will even see the percentages included.
In Europe, wines are generally named for the region (appellation) that a wine’s grapes are grown in, not for the grape.

Types of Wine Based On Location

Where a wine is grown, by whom it is grown, and the type of soil it is grown in are just as important as the type of wine grapes grown. However, this makes it difficult to tell which wine grape(s) are used in the production of that wine.