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Wine Grape Varieties

Wine grape varieties come in all shapes and shades and all produce different types of wine. White grape varieties like sauvignon blanc, red grape varieties like Malbec, famous French wine grapes such as pinot grigio or pinot noir as well as less well-known vines from other countries such as the Italian red grape type Montepulciano. Find below all our wine grape types.

Red Wine Grapes

Red wine grape - Pinot Noir

PINOT noir

Associated with Burgundy, pinot noir is a French red wine grape variety and is one of the three main grapes in Champagne. This wine vine type is why the early Beaune wines were considered the best in the world. The Domaine of Maupertuis produces our best selling pinot noir wine.

Red wine grape - Malbec

Malbec

Known for being robust in tannins Malbec is one of the 6 grape varieties allowed in red Bordeaux wines. Primarily found in Cahors, south-west France it has seen increasing success in Argentina. Our best Argentinian Malbec Catena Zapata.

merlot

Associated with fine wines, the Merlot red wine grape type has long been a synonym of the finer things in life. It enjoyed enormous popularity in the US during the 90's and early 00's as 100% Merlot wine rather than the traditional Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux blend.

Red wine grape - Zinfandel

Zinfandel

Although a light-bodied red wine grape variety Zinfandel has a bold flavour due to its acidity and tannins. The most known Zinfandel wine type White Zinfandel is a semi-sweet blush-style rose. These wines depend heavily on the ripeness of the grape. Often a dessert wine.

Red wine grape - Montepulciano

montepulciano

An Italian red wine grape, Montepulciano grows throughout the country except, curiously enough, the village sharing its name. Don't confuse this grape variety with the wine from this village named Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which contains Sangiovese grapes.

cabernet sauvignon

A legendary red wine grape variety, Cabernet Sauvignon reigns in Bordeaux, as the grape that made Claret a success in the distant past while still being more than relevant today. Cabernet is a giant of the wine world and is grown worldwide.

Red wine grape - Tempranillo

Tempranillo

Spain's most famous red wine grape Tempranillo is a hardy vine that can survive in tough conditions. It is terroir expressive meaning that, like Chardonnay, being a relatively neutral grape it takes on the qualities imbued by its growing conditions. It is used in grape blends to produce Port wines

Red wine grape - Shiraz/Syrah

Shiraz/Syrah

Both refer to a red wine grape type that originates from the south of France. Some countries use only one name or Shiraz for richer, riper, fruitier wine and Syrah to denote a French style with more restraint in terms of fruits. Bear this in mind when shopping for either Syrah or Shiraz wines.

Other red grape wines...

While these are the main red wine grapes, at Vinatis we have plenty more you can discover! Click here to find bottles from all our other red grape vines: Grenache, Pinotage, Sangiovese, Muscat, Cabernet Franc.

White Wine Grapes

White wine grape - Pinot Grigio

pinot grigio

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris is a white wine grape variety. A mutation of the Pinot Noir Vine it is more suited to producing white wine. Skin colour can vary so it is popular for skin-contact wine. Because of all this Pinot Grigio wine ranges from golden to copper and even pink.

White wine grape - Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape, that produces dry white wine, native to France. It flourishes in cooler climates and can survive in warmer ones so it can produce wine that is vegetal and herby (Loire and other cool regions) or more exotic and ripe (new world wines).

Chardonnay

Chardonnay, a white wine grape used in Champagne, doesn't have a distinctive palate. Depending on the vinification method and terroir/climate the wine varies, producing an elegance and diversity rarely seen in other grapes. Taste our best selling Chablis - La Chablisienne.

White wine grape - Riesling

Riesling

Riesling is a white grape variety originating from the Alsace wine region. Aromatic and acidic it can produce dry and sweet wines both still and sparkling. Like Chardonnay, it is terroir expressive meaning that its attributes change greatly depending on where it is grown.

White wine grape - Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer

Unusually coloured, Gewurztraminer is a white wine grape though its grapes are actually red or pink. Resulting in lightly sweet or very fruity wines they go very well with fatty, salty or Asian cuisine. It originated in Alsace and is the result of a mutation of other grapes in the region.

Viognier

A real challenge for vintners, Viognier, a white wine grape, responds well to warm climates by producing what have been described as racy and seductive wines. Consequently, it is one of the vines that are grown more outside of France (eg Australia) than inside it.

White wine grape - Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc, a white wine grape from the Loire Valley, can produce sweet dessert wine as well as sparkling wines. Usually, a dry wine is considered a failure on the part of the wine maker. Notable exceptions include the wines of Anjou which go against the grain. 

White wine grape - Muscat

Muscat

Muscat is the name of a grape family rather than one specific vine. Both red and white wine grapes, all typically have a floral or perfumed palate. Sparkling, fortified, other wines, even liqueurs they can be anywhere from dry to sweet. Muscat sec are notable dry white wines.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Other white grape wines...

While these are the main white wine grapes, at Vinatis we have plenty more you can discover! Click here to find bottles from all our other white grape vines: Vermentino, Roussanne, Albarino, Pinot Blanc.

The Origins of Wine Vine Varieties

Wine vine varieties all come from the Vitis family of plants, which contains both the table and wine making vine varieties such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. Factors including the flesh, taste, water retention and thickness of the skin of the grape as well as the impact of the climate on the vine and its ability to thrive in certain soils, or 'terroirs', heavily influence the quality and personality of the wine. Pinot noir thrives in cooler conditions whereas conversely, Malbec prefers a warmer climate.

Over time, through selective breeding and mutations, growers of wine grapes chose to use the types of vines best suited to the terroir, or those that resulted in quality wine. Some of these most famous of grapes are so successful that they have been brought all over the world to many vineyards. Chardonnay, for example, is a grape variety native to France, specifically the Burgundy region. Due to its popularity, it is now found wherever wine is being produced from New Zealand to South Africa and even England.

Red Wine Grape Varieties and White Wine Grape Varieties

Wine grape varieties come in various shades. While white grape varieties like Chenin  blanc or pinot grigio can only produce white wine, red grape varieties like pinot noir or shiraz / syrah  can actually produce either red wine, white wine or rose wine. This is because the flesh of the grape is not red, only the skin.

The grapes once harvested and crushed are left in contact with the skin for a certain amount of time depending on the wine that is being produced. A red grape type that is destined for a white wine, such as pinot noir when it is being cultivated for champagne, has its skin separated from its flesh immediately not allowing it to take on its skins colour or qualities. A red grape type meant for rose wine is left to settle with the skin for longer and for red wine even longer still. The longer the skin is in contact with the flesh the more the skins flavour, shade and personality are reflected in the wine.

Wine Types

Different wine types are a result of not only the wine grape variety used but also the terroir or environment the vine is grown in as well as the vinification process. The terroir includes factors such as the soil and climate at the vineyard. Chardonnay being such an adaptable grape, and grown so widely, aptly illustrates how the differences in terroir can change the outcome of the wine making. French soils that are typically limestone heavy produce different Chardonnay wine than for example Australian Chardonnay. However even within France Chardonnay isn't all the same, as Chardonnay grown in the south is different to that which is cultivated in the north, the cooler climates produce a more zesty or acidic wine.

Different vineyards and appellations also produce different wines with the same wine grapes because of the vinification process they employ. Between the vinification process and terroir sometimes it is better to find a wine by its region or vineyard rather than simply by its wine grape type. You can find wine by region and vineyard below.

Would You Prefer to Discover Wine By...

French Wine Regions

...French Wine region?

Cotes du Rhone, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, Alsace, Loire, whatever your preference find them all here.

Wine Countries

...or by country?

Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, America, find all your favourite wine countries here.