A Short and Illustrative Course on the Different Types of Wine

By Raichelle Carpio

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

what are the types of wine

Discovering the wonders of wine can be daunting. Given that there are so many options available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed whenever you’re visiting a liquor store. While learning how to distinguish the difference between red and white wine can be useful, it doesn’t represent the whole picture.

If you want to take your wine appreciation up a notch, then the first thing you should do is to learn about the different types available. All wines are made from fermented grapes, but it’s important to know that each kind has its own distinct touch.

Regional influences, grape varieties, and the difference in the winemaking method can significantly affect a wine’s flavor, and knowing how to distinguish each will allow you to pick the right bottle. Before you start reading about amazing wine facts and figures, let’s have a quick overview of each variety.

Red Wine

red wine

Arguably the most popular kind, red wine is made out of dark-colored grapes. To make the drink, black grapes are fermented at high temperatures to extract their color, tannin, and aroma fully.

The color and taste of red wine can vary, from light to bold, and this level of concentration is defined by the brewer’s methods. However, all bottles share a similar trait of having a smooth and strong taste.

Red wines are best paired with big meals. This is why many fine dining establishments usually serve a tall glass for the main course. If you’re planning to buy some, popular bottles would be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.

White wine

People fall into various misconceptions when it comes to white wine. Many think that the beverage is made out of white grapes alone, but it can actually be made out of red or black grapes, as well. The winemaking process is similar to its red counterpart; the main difference in production is that white wine does not ferment the skin of the fruit.

Compared to the strong and bold flavor of red wine, white wine is known for its lighter taste. It’s the perfect companion for light meals and appetizers such as salad, fish, and cold cuts. If you want to go on a light drinking session with your significant other, the varieties recommended are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Moscato.

Rose wine

Rose wine gives you the best of both worlds. Its flavor is closer to white wine, but it’s also reminiscent of red due to its exposure to grape skins. Rose wine can be made two ways: First, by fermenting red or black grapes for as quick as 12–36 hours. Second, by blending red and white wine into a single concoction.

The flavor and color of rose wine can vary according to the brewer. While its taste is more similar to white, there are also darker and stronger variations. Just remember to test out different kinds so you can eventually find the right blend for you. To get you started, the bottles good for both large and casual gatherings would be Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio, and Sangiovese.

Sparkling wine

sparkling wine

When people think of sparkling wine, the first thing that comes to mind is a celebration. Whenever a sports team wins a championship, athletes pop some bottles of this kind and shower themselves with the drink as a sign of victory. But when it comes to casual drinking, sparkling wine is the go-to beverage for parties.

Sparkling wine is made in a variety of ways, but the common factor is that all fermentation methods add carbon dioxide into the process. This is why the drink bubbles like soda and explodes when shaken. Each region has its unique brew, and a famous example would be the Champagne from France.

If you want to experience the rich flavor of this wine, it is best enjoyed with cheese, salad, or fish.

Dessert wine

Dessert wines are the perfect finisher. The wine is named as such not only because it is the sweetest kind of them all, but also because it is usually consumed after a meal. It follows a similar fermentation to red and white wine, but brandy is added into the mix to retain the beverage’s natural sugars.

While dessert wine is intended to be taken after a big meal, it can also be consumed with a plate of appetizers or used as a palette cleanser before the main course. Popular bottles would be Sherry Marsala, Vermouth, and Madeira.

Know your wines

Wine is one of the world’s favorite drink for a reason—it tastes good, paves the way for a good time, and even comes with a ton of health benefits when consumed in right doses.

Luckily enough, you don’t have to be a connoisseur or an expert to appreciate and enjoy the drink fully. By simply knowing the different types available, it will be much easier for you to pick the right bottles depending on the need. Just remember to consume the drink in moderation and to eat healthily at home to maximize the beverage’s health benefits.

Raichelle Carpio

Raichelle is a retail assistant manager at Txanton Philippines. She obtained her Sommelier license with WSET2 by late 2018 and has been working in the hospitality industry over the past 10 years. She has developed special talent for dealing with every kind of clients and is one of the favorite by many fine wine and deli consumers. Her exceptional skills have driven her to the top and the truth is she actually has a real passion for premium gastronomy, beverage, and service.

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