What Are the Different Types of Grapes for Winemaking?
Did you know that humans have been cultivating grape vines for wine production since the Neolithic era? While it is safe to assume there is a plethora of different kinds of grapes, one would not think there are now more than 10,000 different wine grape varieties in the world. That is a lot of grapes. However, the question remains: what are the different types of grapes for winemaking?
While many of these grapes are used for table wines, only a few are used for winemaking. Grapes grown in different regions often have different names - for example, Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape variety that is popular in France, while Chardonnay is a white grape variety that is popular in the United States. So what are the different types of grapes used for making red wine?
Red wine grapes:
Cabernet Sauvignon: this is a variety of grape commonly used in France's Bordeaux wines, and also commonly blended with Merlot. This varietal is known to have hints of blackberry, and its strong natural tannins mellowed by oak barrels.
Merlot: a grape whose fame comes from being a key grape in Bordeaux's Right Bank. Known for a velvety feel.
Pinot Noir: this is a special grape as it is the only one allowed in red wines in Burgundy, France. Being a difficult grape to cultivate, it naturally comes with a higher price tag.
Zinfandel: this is the second-most planted red grape in the state of California where it gained the epithet "Bordeaux of California." While still a widely available, its plantation declined following Prohibition.
White wine grapes:
Chardonnay: a grape grown the world over; from Champagne, France to California, USA, and even down under in Australia. Climate and vinification, however, heavily changes its flavor profile.
Sauvignon Blanc: found in New Zealand and Loire Valley in France, this is a white wine grape known to be aged in stainless steel containers rather than wooden barrels to retain a fresh feel.
Riesling: a grape native to Germany, a place known for its beers, is a source of time-tested white wines.
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris: commonly known as Grigio in the US using the selfsame grapes grown in Italy, it is known as Pinot Gris in France. A grape known to naturally produce more alcohol.
As you can see, there are many different types of grapes that can be used for winemaking. Although, theoretically, wine can be made from any and all kinds of grapes, these are the best-known ones. It is only natural France and Italy are the hot spots for winemaking since Italy has been making wine for the past 4,000 years and France since the 6th century BC. However, the first recorded event of fermented grapes comes from the country of Georgia roughly 6,000 years ago. People sure do love their wine.
While certain grapes might be hard to get a hold of, there are ready-to-make varietals available on the website - from Merlot to Sauvignon Blanc - all ready to make your own fancy wine.