The color of the wine comes from the skin of the grape, not the juice. Red wine is red due to the color of the grape skin. Hues can vary as grapes range from lighter red to black. Those shown below are the most common red wine grapes. The longer the juice is in contact with the skin, the more color the juice absorbs.
A red grape can make a white wine if the grape skin is removed from the juice early, but a white grape cannot make a red wine because the grape skin has no red pigment.
There is always an exception, right? White wine can be made red by adding artificial coloring. It has been done, but I doubt you’ll find such plonk on your retailer’s shelf today.
Red wine can be made from fruits other than grapes: plum wine, cherry, blackberry, red currant, to name a few.
To be considered a dinner wine, the alcohol level should be about 9% to 17% alcohol, with the median being 11% to 12%.
Fortified wines are wine with “fortification” (higher alcohol wine) added (usually brandy), to raise the alcohol level. At one time, Mogen David 20/20 was very high alcohol. Today most of the “bum wines” are gone. Alcohol levels in these wine have been lowered to 13% to 15% but to most palates, these wines are not satisfactory food wines.
Some grapes are pink. For more information on wines made from pink grapes, click my “Blush-Rosé tab for more.
Good quality red wines are made from the Vitis vinifera species, originating perhaps in the Mediterranean areas, and some are considered a “wild” or “sauvage” version of Vitis vinifera. Some of the grapes below are known by different names in other countries. The grapes may take on different personalities as they are grown in different soils and climates.
In the classic wine world, the most common red wine grapes are:
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