The 5 Main Types of Wine

Red Wine

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, & Merlot.

All grape juice is clear, but through a process called maceration in which the juice and pulp of black grapes are left to ferment together, the juice absorbs the flavors, texture, and color that makes red wine so unmistakable.

Red wine is characteristically fruity and peppery, and the tannins that the juice absorbs from the grape pulp during maceration is what makes your mouth feel dry.

White Wine

Like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, & Chardonnay.

In contrast to red wine, white wine is made only from the juices of grapes. Since all grape juice is clear, white wine can be made from either white or black grapes, as long as the skins are filtered out at the very beginning. However, most are made from white grapes.

White wine is characteristically crisp and citrusy, with flavors like green apple, grapefruit, and mango. Some white wines are left to mature in oak barrels, which softens the citrusy bite of the wine and introduces flavors of vanilla or butter.


Rosé is generally made by briefly soaking the juice and pulp of black grapes—long enough to extract some flavor from the skins but not long enough to develop too much color and intensity. Rosé can also be made by blending white wine and red wine.

Rosé has some of the refreshing characteristics of white wine with the fruit flavors of red wine, which is why it has become such a popular summer drink.

Orange Wine

Take a white wine grape, produce it like a red wine, and you’ll have an orange wine. While white wine production starts with the separation of skins, orange wines undergo a maceration stage where the juice absorbs a some character from the skins and seeds.

The result is a wine with the characteristic acidity of a white wine with some of the body and tannin of a red.

Sparkling Wines

Like Champagne, Prosecco, & Cava.

Sparkling wines get their signature bubbles by sending white wine, red wine, or rosé through a secondary fermentation period. The resulting carbon dioxide is captured in the bottle—the traditional method—or in a sturdy tank until it’s released with a celebratory pop!

Fortified Wines

Like Port & Sherry.

Fortified wines are made by adding a hard spirit, like brandy, to a wine during the fermentation process. This halts the conversion of sugar, resulting in a sweeter yet appreciably more alcoholic wine.


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