We write our honest review on each product, however, we might receive compensation on the products we review to support this website. See our full disclosures here


A Complete Guide For Classification Of Wine

Wine can be classified in many ways. However, the main classifications are based on factors such as grape variety, wine color, place of origin, winemaking style, and more.

In this review, we will look into the details of each main wine classification, so you can better understand the wine world.

The Main Different Types Of Wine Classification

Classification of Wines Based On Color

Wine can be classified into three major categories according to color: red wine, white wine, and rosé wine.

Red Wines

Red wine is made from red or black grapes varieties that have been crushed and fermented with their skins on. The skins give the wine its deep red color and tannins, which contribute to its flavor and aging potential.

Some of the most popular red wine varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.

White Wines

White wine is made from white or green grapes, which are pressed and fermented without their skins. As a result, white wine has a light transparent yellowish-to-greenish color and is usually less tannic than red wine.

Some of the most popular white wine varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and Moscato.

Rosé Wines

Rosé wine is made by allowing red grapes to ferment with their skins for a short period of time, usually between two and twenty-four hours. This process gives the rosé wine a pinkish color and some of the tannins from the skins, but not as much as in red wine.

Some popular rosé wine varieties include Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.

Classification of Wines Based On Varietal

This classification is based on the grape variety used to make the wine. For example, wines labeled as “Chardonnay” are made mainly from the Chardonnay grape.

The Five Most Popular White Wine Varietal Classifications

Chardonnay – Chardonnay is one of the world’s most widely planted white wine grape varieties. It is known for its rich, full-bodied flavor, often with butter, vanilla, and oak notes.

Sauvignon Blanc – Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, refreshing white wine that is often described as having grassy, herbaceous, or tropical fruit flavors. It is popular in regions such as New Zealand, California, and the Loire Valley in France.

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris – Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are essentially the same grape variety, but they are known by different names in different regions. These wines are light, refreshing, and often have fruity notes such as pear or citrus.

Riesling – Riesling is a versatile grape that can be used to make dry, off-dry, or sweet wines. It is known for its floral aromas and flavors of apple, peach, and apricot. It is most commonly associated with the regions of Germany and Alsace, but it is also grown in other parts of the world.

Gewürztraminer – Gewürztraminer is a highly aromatic white wine that is known for its spicy, floral notes. It is often produced in the Alsace region of France, as well as in Germany, Italy, and the United States.

The Five Most Popular Red Wine Varietal Classifications

Cabernet Sauvignon – Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It is known for its full-bodied, tannic structure and flavors of black currant, blackberry, and cassis. It is often produced in regions such as California, Bordeaux, and Australia.

Merlot – Merlot is a medium to full-bodied red wine that is known for its soft, velvety texture and flavors of red fruit such as cherry and plum. It is often produced in regions such as Bordeaux, California, and Washington State.

Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a light to medium-bodied red wine that is known for its delicate, nuanced flavors and aromas of red fruit, earth, and spice. It is often produced in regions such as Burgundy, Oregon, and California.

Syrah/Shiraz – Syrah/Shiraz is a full-bodied red wine that is known for its bold, spicy flavors and aromas of dark fruit, such as blackberry and black cherry. It is often produced in regions such as the Rhône Valley in France, Australia, and California.

Zinfandel – Zinfandel is a medium to full-bodied red wine that is known for its rich, jammy flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and other dark fruit. It is often produced in regions such as California and Italy.

See our wine deals

Classification of Wines Based On Regional

This classification is based on the place of origin of the wine. For example, wines from the Bordeaux region of France are labeled as “Bordeaux.”

There are many famous wine regions around the world, each with its unique climate, soil, and grape varieties, which lead to the production of distinct styles of wine.

Here are some of the most famous classifications of wines based on region:

Bordeaux, France – Bordeaux is a region in southwestern France known for producing some of the world’s most iconic red wines. The wines are usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes.

Burgundy, France – Burgundy is a region in eastern France famous for producing some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. The region is divided into several sub-regions, each with its unique terroir and style of wine.

Champagne, France – Champagne region, located in northeastern France, is known for producing sparkling wine. Only sparkling wines produced in this region can legally be called “Champagne.”

Tuscany, Italy – Tuscany is a region in central Italy known for producing high-quality Sangiovese-based red wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Rioja, Spain – Rioja is a region in northern Spain known for producing medium-bodied red wines made from Tempranillo grapes. The wines are often aged in oak barrels, which imparts them with a unique flavor profile.

Napa Valley, California – Napa Valley is a region in California known for producing some of the world’s finest dark red Cab Sauvignon and Chardonnay wine bottles. The region is also home to many boutique wineries and vineyards that produce small-batch wines.

Classification of Wines Based On Appellation

This classification is similar to regional, but it is more specific and regulated by law. It takes into account factors such as grape variety, winemaking practices, and geography.

Overall, the classification of wines based on appellation is a way of ensuring that wines are made in a consistent and quality-driven manner while also promoting the unique characteristics of the wine’s place of origin.

For example, wines from the Chablis appellation must be made from Chardonnay grapes and must meet certain standards.

The following are some of the most famous appellations:

Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) – This is the French system of wine classification, which has strict rules governing the production of wines from specific regions in France. For example, wines produced in the Bordeaux AOC must be made using specific grape varieties, such as Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) – This is the Italian system of wine classification, which is similar to the French AOC system. Wines produced within a DOC must follow strict production guidelines and be made from specific grape varieties.

Vino de Calidad con Indicación Geográfica (VCIG) – This is the Spanish system of wine classification, which is similar to the French and Italian systems. VCIG wines are produced within a specific geographic area and must follow strict production guidelines.

American Viticultural Area (AVA) – This is the United States system of wine classification, which is based on geographic regions that are known for producing high-quality wines. AVA wines must be made from at least 85% of grapes grown within the designated AVA.

See our wine deals

Wines Classification Based On Residual Sugar Content

Even though the residual sugar content is only one factor that contributes to a wine’s overall taste profile, wines can be classified based on their residual sugar content into several categories:

Dry Wines

These wines have very little residual sugar content, usually less than 1 gram per liter. Dry wines are typically crisp and acidic, with a clean finish.

Off-Dry Wines

These wines have slightly more residual sugar than dry wines, typically between 1 and 2 grams per liter. Off-dry wines can have a hint of sweetness and are often balanced with acidity.

Semi-Sweet Wines

These wines have a noticeable sweetness, with residual sugar content between 2 and 4 grams per liter. Semi-sweet wines can be fruity and have a pleasant mouthfeel.

Sweet Wines

These wines have a high residual sugar content, typically more than 4 grams per liter. Sweet wines are often dessert wines and can be very rich and syrupy.

Wines Classification Based On The Wine Body

Wines can also be classified based on their body, which is determined by the wine’s texture and weight on the palate. The following are the common wine classifications based on the body.

Light-Bodied Wines

These wines feel lighter on the palate and have lower alcohol content. They are typically more refreshing and easy to drink, with flavors that are delicate and subtle. Examples of light-bodied wines include Riesling, Pinot Grigio table wine, and Beaujolais Nouveau.

Medium-Bodied Wines

These wines have a moderate weight on the palate and a slightly higher alcohol content than light-bodied wines. They have more body and complexity than light-bodied wines, with flavors that are more pronounced. Examples of medium-bodied wines include Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc.

Full-Bodied Wines

These wines have a rich and full texture on the palate, with higher alcohol content and more intense flavors. They are often aged for longer periods and can have a more complex flavor profile. Examples of full-bodied wines include Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

Sparkling Wines Classification

This classification is for wines with carbon dioxide bubbles, which can be natural or added during winemaking. Examples include Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava.

Dessert Wines Classification

Dessert wines are sweet wines typically served after a meal or with dessert. There are several different classifications of dessert wines, based on factors such as production method, different varieties of grapes, and sweetness level.

Here are some of the main dessert wine classifications:

Fortified Wine – Fortified wines are made by adding a distilled spirit, such as brandy, to the wine during the production process. This raises the alcohol content and stops the fermentation, resulting in a sweeter wine. Examples of fortified wines include Port, Sherry, and Madeira.

Late Harvest Wine – Late harvest wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine longer than usual, allowing them to develop higher sugar levels. The grapes are then harvested later in the season, resulting in a sweeter wine. Examples of late-harvest wines include Sauternes, Tokaji, and German Trockenbeerenauslese.

Ice Wine – Ice wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they freeze, typically in late autumn or early winter. The frozen grapes are then pressed, resulting in a highly concentrated juice that is fermented into a sweet wine. Examples of ice wines include Canadian Ice Wine and German Eiswein.

Noble Rot Wine – Noble rot is a type of fungus that can infect grapes under specific weather conditions, causing them to shrivel and concentrate their sugars. These grapes are then harvested and used to make sweet wines with a unique flavor profile. Examples of noble rot wines include Sauternes and Hungarian Tokaji Aszu.

Aperitif Wine – Aperitif wines are sweet wines that are typically served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Examples of aperitif wines include Vermouth, Lillet, and Aperol.

Final Notes

As you can see in this review, there are many different ways to classify wines. The classification of wine is essential for several reasons, such as quality assurance, pricing, taste, and more.

Overall, classification systems provide a framework for evaluating and understanding wines while promoting wine standards and protecting the integrity of the wine industry.

Feel free to visit our blog if you want to know even more about wines and the wine world – such as wine pairings for dinner, best wine clubs to try, and more.

See our wine deals

You Might Also Like
Winc wine club
Our Winc Red Wines Review
VDay Wine and Food
Food and Wine Pairing for Valentine’s Day Dinner Date
choose wine club
How to Choose a Wine Club Service
Plonk Wine
Best Online Wine Clubs for 2023
Why is Wine so Popular
Why is Wine So Popular?
The 10 Best Non-alcoholic Wines of 2023
Father’s Day Wine Gifts
Decanting Wine: The whys, hows, and everything in between
Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner
WSJ Wine Club
How to Cancel WSJ Wine Club Subscription
Winc Wine Subscription
How to Cancel Winc Wine Club Account
Mulled wine
A Full Guide To Mulled Wine
WSJ wine
Is WSJ Wine A Good Deal?
open a wine bottle
Wine Storage 101: How Long Can You Keep an Opened Bottle of Wine
The Best Ways to Cure (and Prevent) a Hangover
Are Wine Clubs worth the cost?
Firstleaf Wine selection
The Effect of Temperature on Food and Wine Matching
California Wine Club Red Wine
What Is a Wine Club Subscription?
BBQ & Burger Wine
BBQ & Burger Wine Pairings Done Right
Zinfandel grapes
What Is Zinfandel Wine? Unraveling The Legacy Of a California Classic
Syrah Red Wine
Syrah Red Wine Guide- Learn All You Need To Know About Syrah Wine
kosher wine
All You Need To Know About Kosher Wine
Fortified Wine
What Is A Sparkling Wine? A Comprehensive Guide To The Bubbles World
Merlot Wine Club
Cabernet Sauvignon Vs. Merlot – A Full Comparison Between These Two Popular Wines
Wine Cocktails
Our List Of Top 10 Wine Cocktails For When You’re Feeling Fancy
Non-Alcoholic Wines
Non-Alcoholic Wines Review
Wine Coolers
Wine Coolers & Wine Refrigerators Guide
sangria wine making
Best Wines For Sangria For 2023
Marsala Wine
Beginners Guide to Italy’s Marsala Wine: What is it, Types & More
Riesling Wine
Learn About Riesling Wine: Riesling Taste, History, and Region & More
Wine For Risotto
Best Wine For Risotto
Lamb wine pairing
Lamb Wine Pairing Guide
Malbec wine- wine insiders
What is Malbec Wine? Tasting Notes, Pairings, and More
french wine guide
AOC – French Wine Classifications 
Fortified Wine
What Is A Fortified Wine?
wine aeration
Why Should You Aerate Red & White Wine? Facts & Tips
wine tannins
What Are Wine Tannins? Taste, Mouthfeel, And Quality Explained
valentines day
Which Is Considered To Be The Most Romantic Wine For Date Night? 
Companies Like Winc Wine Club For 2023
2020 Endgame® Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino, California
What Is Cabernet Sauvignon Wine?
2019 'Folly of the Beast' Chardonnay from the central coast, California
What Is Chardonnay Wine?
2020 Alma Libre Pinot Noir Aconcagua, Chile
What Is Pinot Noir Wine?
wine experts
How Many Glasses in a Bottle of Wine?
wine club gifts
Best Wines For Wedding Gifts 2022
California Wine Club box
The California Wine Club Holiday Gifts!
6 mixed red wine glasses
Best Wine Housewarming Gifts 2022
Birthday Wine Gifts
Best Birthday Wine Gift 2023
black friday wine deals
2022 Black Friday & Cyber Monday Wine Club Coupons
low sugar wine dry wine
The Dry And Low Sugar Wine Guide
wine glasses
A Full Guide To Different Types Of Wine Glasses
summer wine
Best Summer Wines For Delicious Summer Sipping
red wine vs white wine
winc white wine
Our Winc White Wine Review 2023
affordable wine clubs
Are Wine Clubs Worth It?
What Are the Different Colors of Wine?
natural wine benefits
Is Natural Wine Better For You?
WSJ wine club
Recommended Wine Openers
firstleaf wine club
Is FirstLeaf Worth It? Our Honest Review
Firstleaf Wine selection
Our Honest Take – Is Firstleaf Worth It?
wine glossary
Wine Glossary
red wine sex
Is Red Wine Good for Sex?
Pink Rose Wine
How to Choose the Right Wine?
Best Tools and Techniques to Store and Preserve Wine
Best Tools and Techniques to Store and Preserve Wine
Best Wine Countries
Best Wine Countries
Best Wine Regions
Best Wine Regions
Wine Club FAQ
Wine Club FAQ: What You Need to Know
How to Prevent Teeth Staining From Red Wine
How to Prevent Teeth Staining From Red Wine
The Wine Club Reviews
Mother’s Day Wine Club Gift Card
Father’s Day Wine Gifts
Father’s Day Wine Gifts
wine experts
Do I Need to Be a Wine Expert to Join a Wine Club?
Health Benefits of Wine
Health Benefits of Wine
french wine guide
A Guide To French Wines
Hello fresh wine box
Best Wine Clubs for Beginners
15 Fun Facts About Champagne
Wine Glasses
15 Fun Facts About Wine
WSJ Wine Club
Wine Experiences Are the New Wine Tastings
WSJ Wine Club
Food and Wine Pairing – Your Guide to Being an Excellent Host
Why is Wine so Popular
8 Things You Need to Know about Hosting a Wine Dinner Party
Wine Serving Temperature
All About Wine Serving Temperature: Do’s and Don’ts
Best Wine for Tacos
Best Wine for Tacos
NakedWines wine club review
Best Wine Pairings for Fish and Seafood
best wine and cheese pairings
Best Wine and Cheese Pairings
Pairing wine and pizza
Best Wine Pairings for Pizza
best wine to go with steak
Best Wine Pairing with Steak
Best White Wines
Complete Guide to the Most Common White Wines
The Wine Club Reviews about us
Complete Guide to the Most Common Red Wines
choose wine club
Recommended Wine Glasses
California Wine Club box
Recommended Wine Gadgets
Most affordable wine clubs
5 Reasons To Use a Wine Club
firstleaf wine

wine deals

Christmas sale

Grab wine deals for a festive dinner

Wine deals 2023