Simple Tips For Wine Classification and Categorization

It is an important part of wine making and drinking to know the wine classification and categorization. But before you can continue your journey you need to know the basics of just what wine is. In its simplest definition, wine is an alcoholic drink fermented from grapes.

Wine makers take the grapes from the vines and crush them, adding the needed yeast. The yeast then like hungry little buggers consumes the sugar from the grapes. This consumption is what makes the grapes turn to wine.

Grape Varieties

Different wines are made from different grape varieties, although it is Vitis Vinifera, also known at the common grape vine that is the dominant variety used in making wines. It is native to Europe as well as East and Central Asia, but it has been planted all over the world. There are thousands of varieties of this species, most well known include, Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel.

Hybrid Grapes

When you take two different species of grapes and combine them you are making a hybrid wine. This wine hopefully will have the best qualities of both the parent grapes. Hybrids were developed by crossing the sturdy American grape that can withstand the cold with the more fragile European vinifera; their goal was to create a grape with amplified disease resistance, stronger crops and, most of all, tolerance to the cold winters.

Wine Classification and Categorization

There has been much musing about classifying wine and categorizing wine, in fact I have found both terms used interchangeably, here we will discuss briefly both.

Wine Categorization is done by:


The vintage of a wine refers to the year in which the grapes were harvested and not the year in which the wine was bottled.

Non Vintage

These wines are produced from grapes with different vintages.


Wines are also classified by taste. Wines may be classified as dry (meaning not sweet), fruity, or sweet, for example. Or wines may be classified according to specific flavors.



Most countries that are not of Europe classify their wines by the type of grape used. Wines classified by the different grape types include the Merlot and the Pinot Noir.


Many attempts have been urged by wine valley regions around the world to use quality as a categorization of wine, but have never truly been adapted.


Vinification refers to how the wine is made. Examples of classifications by vinification method include sparkling, rose, or blush. For example, champagne is a sparkling wine. Sparkling wines are wines which contain carbon dioxide, which may either be a by product of the fermentation, or may be added.


This is where the grapes are grown and the wine is made. Champagne is only grown in the Champagne region of France and Port is the only wine grown in a certain valley in Portugal. Some wines are now being recognized for the location of the vineyard such as Willamette Valley, Napa Valley and Marlborough.

Wine Classification refers to the type of wine or when it is consumed.

  • Aperitif or aperitif wines: herb or spiced wines served before meals
  • Dessert wines: sweet wines, usually fortified
  • Pop wines: sweet fruity mostly cheaper wines
  • Sparkling wines: wine containing carbon dioxide to make it bubbly like champagne
  • Table wines: Low in quality

As you can see it is an important part of wine making and drinking to know the wine classification and categorization. For more information on this visit my website.

Source of Simple Tips For Wine Classification and Categorization by Kacy Waters – author of Simple Tips For Wine Classification and Categorization article

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