Most Popular Wine Varieties

Chardonnay was the most popular white wine through the 1990's. This wine have a variety of styles and flavor characteristics. Chardonnay wines are produced all over the world but the most famous are probably those made from the Chardonnay grape in France, but the Chardonnay grape is equally at home in New Zealand and California.

Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon blanc is a green-skinned grape variety which probably originates from the Bordeaux region of France. It is now planted in much of the world's winelands, producing a crisp, dry, and refreshing white varietal wine. It's one of the main grapes used to produce the elegant dry wines from Bordeaux (Graves) and the Loire Valley (Pouilly-Fume). Many wineries-particularly in California-use this grape to produce wonderful wines that are bottled under the varietal name, Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes labeled Fume Blanc).


Top Types of Wine Video

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of wine to effect carbonation. It is named after the Champagne region of France. Grapes must be the white Chardonnay, or the red Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. Champagne is typically a white wine even if it is produced with red grapes, because the juice is extracted from the grapes using a gentle process that minimizes the amount of time the juice spends in contact with the skins, which is what gives red wine its colour.

Riesling is a white grape variety and varietal appellation of wines grown historically in Alsace (France), Austria, Germany, and northern Italy. It is a very old grape, first documented in 1435. Today Riesling is Germany�s leading grape variety. This wine cover a vast array of tastes from sweet to off-dry.

Semillon is a golden-skinned grape used to make dry and sweet white wines, most notably in France and Australia. In France, this grape is grown mostly in Bordeaux. Semillon is widely grown in Australia, particularly in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney.
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety of red grape mainly used for wine production, and is, along with Chardonnay, one of the most widely-planted of the world's noble grape varieties. The grape is strongly associated with the great red wines of Bordeaux, such as those of the Medoc. Major producers of Cabernet Sauvignon wines are France, Italy, United States, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Shiraz or Syrah
The name of the grape Shiraz was taken from that of the city of Shiraz in Persia/Iran, where the process of wine making possibly originated 7000 years ago. It is called Syrah in France and most often in the United States. In South Africa, Australia, and Canada it is most commonly known as Shiraz. It is a grape variety widely used to make a dry red table wine. Shiraz is often vinified on its own, but is also frequently blended with other grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier.

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is a red wine grape variety similar to and a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. It tends to be softer and has fewer tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, although the two can be difficult to distinguish. Cabernet Franc forms part of the Bordeaux blend, usually taking a minor role to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, except in certain wines of the Saint-Emilion appellation. In California and other U.S. states, it is often marketed as part of the Meritage blend.

Merlot is one of the noble wine grape varieties, used to create a popular red wine. Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Merlot is produced primarily in France, Italy and California, and on a lesser scale in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, and other parts of the United States. Most wines from Bordeaux contain at least some Merlot.

Rose is a type of wine that is neither purely red wine nor purely white wine. It has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and winemaking techniques. European roses are almost always dry wines while American versions (often labeled as "blush"), such as white Zinfandel are often very sweet.

Zinfandel (Red and White)
California's very own grape comes in an 'any color you like' form, and can be made into anything from sickly sweet rose, to hulking great reds of power and considerable charm, and even 'Port' style wine. Although associated with California, its origins are thought to be either Persian or Southern Italian (it is claimed to have close origins with the Primitivo grape of that region). Whatever the truth, Zinfandel has some of the highest sugar levels of any variety and can therefore create wines of massive proportions with the extract of fruit and color to match. The best wines tend to be enormous (often topping 15% alcohol) with fine blackberry and cherry notes and a wisp of fresh acidity that gives the wine a much-needed lift. Zinfandels can be magnificent drinking experiences, especially when approached young with suitably robust foods.

Winery and Wine Web Sites

Wine Spectator - Wine Spectator shares the love of fine wine. Subscribe today and you won't miss these best selling issues: Restaurant Grand Award Winners, Top 100 wines of the Year and Great Wine Values. Every issue comes with a Wine Spectator Buying Guide, full of reviews and ratings for over 500 wine releases.

Food & Wine Magazine - This magazine explores all aspects of an Epicurean lifestyle including cooking, entertaining, wine and food pairing, home decorating, travel, dining out, spirits, tabletop design and new appliances and equipment. Each department and feature covers information on how to enjoy Epicurean pursuits with an emphasis on style, accessibility and fun.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Up-to-date coverage of the major wine regions of the world, information on new releases and over 300 ratings and reviews.

Wine & Spirits Magazine - Consumer magazine promoting the greater appreciation and enjoyment of wine and fine spirits. Features include articles on food and travel as well as results of the American Wine Competition, and restaurant and retail surveys. - Wine-Searcher's daily updated database of 6521 wine merchants' price lists saves you money when buying wines. The site provides the fastest and easiest way to find who is selling a wine, to compare prices between wine stores, and to value wines.

USA Wines - Listing United States wines, wineries and shops. Also features regional maps, information on lodging, dining and events.

Niebaum Coppola Wine Estates - Offers a selection of wines plus information and a tour of the estate.

Avalon of Oregon - Oregon, Washington and Idaho wines and gourmet foods along with articles and reviews.

California Wine - Providing a selection of premium California wines.

New York Wine Cork - A guide to New York vineyards, with a list of wineries, calendar of events, news, tasting notes, and recipes.

Los Olivos Wine and Spirits Emporium -  Santa Barbara County wines. - California wineries offering products and information. News, events, and clubs. -  Wines from Washington and the Pacific Northwest including Syrahs from Glen Fiona and Seven Hills wineries.

The Wine Reserve - California and limited production wines.

Signature Wines - A selection of US produced wines with custom labeling.

Villa Toscano -  Wines by a "Tuscan" winery in the Sierra Foothills of California.

Wine Online
 - A tasting Panel of wine industry professionals and culinary advisors.


This listing of the
America's Best Festivals was compiled with the help from a Wine Group called Wine Addiction. This list is constantly being revised as we experience and learn about more of America's Great Wine Festivals. So, if you feel you have a great idea and want to share it, please email us and let us know!