Wine Classifications

 

There are many different types of wine, all of which can be classified in different ways, including place of origin, vinification method or style, age, and varietal used. One of the most common ways of classifying a wine is by appellation, which refers to the grapes that were used when making the wine, as well as the region the grapes were grown in.  Classifying a wine by it’s appellation typically means referring to it’s country of origin, such as French wines or Australian wines.

Wines are also classified through vinification methods, or the process in which the juice of various types of grapes are converted into wine through fermentation.

Although there are hundreds of different varieties and winemaking styles, there are 5 main classifications of wine, all of which have their own unique vinification styles.

Red Wine

  • is a still wine made with black grapes
  • varies in color shades-ranging from light to dark
  • varies in sweetness-ranges from bone dry to very sweet

White Wine

  • is produced from green grapes, but sometimes is produced from black grapes
  • has a variety of flavors from rich and creamy to light and zesty

Rose Wine

  • is made from black grapes
  • the skin is removed before the wine is colored, hence it’s unique coloring
  • is also formed by mixing red and white wine
  • can be dry or sweet; they’re both common

Sparkling Wine

  • is created using a second fermentation to create the bubbles
  • can be red, rose, or white
  • can be either minerally or sweet

Fortified Wine

  • a style of wine making that fortifies wine with spirits
  • is usually but not always a dessert wine
  • non-dessert fortified wines are also common, such as sherry

Wine can also be classified as either vintage or varietal. Vintage wine is a wine in which the grapes were grown in a specific region within a single specific year. A varietal wine is a wine made from a dominant grape (ex: Chardonnay) but may also include other grapes as well. Varietal labeling laws vary depending on location. In the US, in order for a wine to be labeled varietal it must be made from at least 75% from a particular grape.