Grapes are round, juicy, edible perennial vines that are used to make jam, jelly, pies, and of course wine. They have existed for thousands of years and have multiple health benefits. More importantly, they are the movers and shakers of the wine industry, they’re what make your favorite drinks during dinner!

This article encompasses all the information related to the best choice of grapes for making wine. But first, let’s get to know a little about how wine is made from the grapes in the first place.

Best Grapes for Making Wine
Green winery grapes on vine. @krisiartkszp

How is Wine Made from Grapes?

Vinification—the process it takes from grape to wine, is a complex process. Firstly, ripe grape juice is fermented for a long period of time to produce wine. Some grapes ripe early in the season, some ripe in mid-season while some wait till the end of the season.

Whether you a beginner who wants to get familiarized with the names of winemaking grapes or a budding wine enthusiast who want to expand his knowledge on the regional roots of the grapes, diving into the ever-expanding world of winemaking can be overwhelming. Check out this article if you’re just starting to appreciate wine on “What Does Wine Taste Like”?

We will guide you to explore the best grape varieties that are used to make your favorite wine styles and blends.

Best Grapes for Making Wine
Processing blue grapes for wine. @aoc.cairanne

7 Different Grapes Used for White Wine

Zesty white wine is made by removing the skin of red and white grapes, collecting the juice and fermenting it. Read below for some of the most popular or common varieties of white wine. Personally Chardonnay is definitely a must try if you’re a beginner wine drinker.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

Originating from Bordeaux and Loire Valley in France, Sauvignon Blanc ripens early and make some of the finest varieties of white wine. It is grown in almost all the prominent winemaking regions of the world, especially in New Zealand. Unlike Chardonnay, it has a  fresh green and fruity flavor.

Chardonnay Grapes

Chardonnay is easily the most popular winemaking grape in the world. The adaptive nature of this grape makes it suitable to be planted all over the world. Soil high in clay, limestone and chalk is ideal for this variety to grow.

Wine made with Chardonnay goes well with sushi, sashimi and almost all types of seafood like shellfish and crabs. For more guide to see what the “Best Wines To Use For Cooking” as well, click here.

Riesling Grapes

Rhine region of Germany is notable for producing a highly acidic variety of grapes complemented with a flowery aroma. The flavor of this variety largely depends on the region it is planted. Wine made with this variety pair well with any spicy dishes like Indian and Asian cuisine.

Best Grapes for Making Wine
Valley grapes on vine. @carrieresmaya

Pinot Gris Grapes

Originating in Burgundy, Pinot Gris or Grauburgunder is a widely planted white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Purplish in color, wine made from this variety offers a diverse range of flavors and aroma. It is light in acid and pairs well with poultry.

Chenin Blanc Grapes

Chenin Blanc is one of the most versatile varieties of grape that owes its origin to the vineyards of Loire Valley in France. The sweetness and the flavor of wine made from this grape can be altered to adapt to your taste buds. Pair it with pulled pork dishes and oysters.

Gewürztraminer Grapes

Gewürztraminer is an aromatic pinkish-red grape variety used to make white wine. Owing it’s origins to Italy, it only makes sense that many European countries enjoy this grape (and wine) a lot! Being a grape originated in the cold atmosphere of European countries, it adapts and thrives in a cooler climate. This delicious grape also produces more of a floral flavor profile, how delicious does that sound?

Sémillon Grapes

Sémillon has its roots in the Bordeaux region of France. This variety of thin-skinned grape is easy to cultivate but needs utmost care prior to harvesting as it is susceptible to sunburn. The skin turns golden when ripe. It thrives well in a warmer climate. Sweet white wine from this variety of grape goes well with food rich in Asian spices.

Also check this guide out we set up to make sure your white wine is lasting the correct amount of time in “How Long Does White Wine Last”?

Best Grapes for Making Wine
White wine in expensive wine glass.

9 Different Grapes Used for Red Wines

The darker varieties of grapes are used to make red wine. Grapes are pressed along with the skin before fermentation so that the wine retains the red or purplish stain and fruity flavor. Here’s a list of some of the widely planted Red wine grapes.

Pinot Noir Grapes

Pinot Noir, one of the most widely planted red-wine making grape is a variety of Vitis vinifera species. It has been a top pick among wine enthusiasts for ages. Originating in France, wine from this grape pair well with food rich in hot sauce and a myriad of cheese.

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

It’s no secret that Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most sought after variety of red-wine grape. It is cultivated in almost all major winemaking vines of the world. Bordeaux produces some of the finest variety of this grape. Wine from this grape has ripe fruity fragrance and complex aroma.

Malbec Grapes

Malbec, in spite of originating in France, owes its popularity to Argentina where it is grown extensively to make some finest variety of wine. This variety of Vitis vinifera needs hot weather to ripen. It produces full-bodied red wine and is usually blended with  Right Bank Bordeaux. Pairs perfectly with red meat and poultry.

Syrah / Shiraz Grapes

Syrah or Shiraz, one of the widely accepted red wine grapedominates the Northen Rhone today. It is not known when or where it has originated. Wine of this variety can be paired with grilled chicken, sausages and almost all red meat dishes.

Best Grapes for Making Wine
Drinking wine during a bonfire. @thegardenofitaly

Merlot Grapes

Merlot owes its popularity to France. The color of this grape ranges from dark blue to black. It is widely cultivated all over the world especially in Bordeaux. Wine from this variety has aromas of freshly pressed raspberries, strawberries and cherries.

Zinfandel Grapes

Cultivated mostly in the vineyards of USA, Zinfandel despite being light in nature offers rich flavors. It has a lovely flavor of ripe cherries, raspberries & cranberries. Wine made from this variety has a higher alcohol content than Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel is a great accompaniment for food rich in spices and hot sauces.

Sangiovese Grapes

Despite its popularity, Sangiovese can be rarely found in winemaking vineyards outside Italy. The versatile nature of the wine produced from his variety of grape allows it to adapt itself to a variety of flavors and aromas. It pairs perfectly with Italian cuisines like tomato sauce based pizzas, pasta and so on.

Sparkling Wine Grapes

Carefully picked Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are fermented over time to make fizzy Sparkling Wine.

Rosé Wine Grapes

Rosé wine is made with the blue and red grapes that are made to undergo maceration.

Best Grapes for Making Wine
Storage barrels of wine. @gxchampagne

Thanks for reading!! Too much variety for you right away? A little overwhelmed with the options of wine that you realize you have? Check out “Beginner Wines that You Need to Try” or “Best Kind of Wine for Non-Wine Drinkers” for more.

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Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram for daily wine content!


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