Simple Wine Categories

To the uninitiated, the world of wine is certainly very intimidating. But this is why we’re here, to demystify and de-intimidate (if there is such a word; inventing words now, I see!) wine for you. For today, we will tackle wine categories.

When it comes to categorizing wine, you can go any which way. You can sort them by country, by grape, by carbonation, by whatever. But for the purposes of simplifying what wine is and in order to somewhat include everything, we categorize wine as follows:

  • Table
  • Dessert
  • Beverage
  • Sparkling
  • Aromatized
  • Wine cooler

Table Wine – table wines could still be classified as either Generic (a blend of different grapes, with no one grape dominating) and Varietal (made from a specific grape variety). These wines are not carbonated and contain roughly about 14% alcohol. Examples of table wines are Chablis and Chianti (generic table wine) and Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (varietal table wine).

Dessert Wine – contains no carbonation and are generally sweet, hence the “dessert” appellation. Examples of dessert wines are port, sherry, and Muscatel.

Beverage Wine – these types of wines are made from two or more fruit juices. They are also “still,” meaning they are not carbonated. Examples are peach chardonnays and strawberry zinfandels.

Sparkling Wine – perhaps you are familiar with sparkling wines, as they usually are brought out during celebrations and other special occasions. They are carbonated, giving them that bubbly, sparkling quality.Well-known examples of sparkling wine are champagne and cava.

Aromatized Wine – aromatized wines are herbalized and fortified with the addition of brandy or grape sugar to increase the alcohol content. Sweet and dry vermouth fall under this category.


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