Each of the three types of wine can be made in a variety of styles according to colour and taste.


The colour of a wine can be determined by the type of grapes used and/or the way it is made:


The colour of the wine will come from using black grapes to make the wine as the colour comes from the grape skins. The skins also contain other substances such as tannin (that's the substance in tea that makes your mouth feel dry), which will make the wine different not only in colour to white wines but in the way it tastes.


White wine is usually made from the juice of white grapes, but because all of the colour in black grapes is in the skin, it is possible to make white wine from black grapes if you remove the skins before fermentation. White wines are often seen as the lighter, refreshing, alternative to red wines.


These wines are made from black grapes where the wine has had less contact with the skins. You will often see very pale rose wines labelled as 'blush' wines. Rose wines are usually not as full as red wines but offer more body than white. Rose tends to be a very seasonal drink, selling mostly in summer.


Grape juice is naturally sweet but as yeast feed on the grape sugars during fermentation, the juice becomes less sweet. Yeast will die once the alcohol reaches 15% or when all the sugars have been used. Any sugar remaining in the wine once the yeast is dead will determine how sweet a wine is.


The majority of wine you will taste will be dry because the yeast will have turned all the sugar into alcohol and CO2 gas. Most red wines and the majority of white are dry, although some are drier than others. Examples of dry white wines are Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Fino Sherry from Spain and Brut Champagne. Dry red wines include Chateauneuf-du-Pape from France, Valpolicella from Italy and Pinotage from South Africa.


The wines you will taste that are medium will usually be white or rose. To make a medium wine the winemaker will either remove the yeast from the juice before all the sugar has been consumed or add unfermented, sweet grape juice to dry wine. A medium wine should have sweetness but not be cloying or sickly. Many popular wines from Germany such as Liebfraumilch are in this style; as are many rose wines such as Blush Zinfandel from California.

Sweetness is immediately noticeable on the tip of the tongue. Often the sugar will make the wine feel thicker and richer. The best sweet wines are made from grapes so rich in sugar that the yeast dies before all the sugar is consumed. Often sweet wines will be balanced in flavour due to refreshing acidity in the wine. Examples of sweet wines are Sauternes from France, Port from Portugal and Asti from Italy.


This is the general feel of the wine in the mouth when you taste.

Light Bodied

Wines that light in body are usually refreshing and easy to drink. An example of a light-bodied white is Pinot Grigio from Italy and for red wine is Beaujolais from France.

Medium Bodied

The wine will feel richer and more substantial, this is because of the grapes used or because the wine may have been in oak barrels, thereby giving an extra texture to the wine. Examples of medium-bodied wines are white Burgundy from France and red Merlot from Chile.

Full Bodied

The wine will be powerful and will seem more concentrated and heavy. This is usually due to the ripeness of the grape and for some wines the use of oak. Examples of full-bodied wines are oaked Chardonnay from California and Shiraz from Australia.

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