You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

Wine types

For a complete list of all wine types, see winemaking.

This refers to the process known as vinification, which includes all procedures and measures in the vineyard and cellar to produce wine from grapes. Grape varieties were cultivated and wine produced at least 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, as evidenced by plant remains found in Asia Minor and numerous ancient wine vessels and artefacts from many regions. Transcaucasia and the advanced civilisations of Mesopotamia are regarded as the cradle of wine culture. According to the latest research, however, one of the most likely ancient origins may also lie in neighbouring Turkish south-eastern Anatolia near the biblical Mount Ararat.

Origin of viticulture in Europe

However, the origins of European viticulture lie primarily in ancient Greece and on the island of Crete. Of course, this was done using quite primitive methods at the time. This complex of topics is described under the keywords Ancient wines, Ancient grape varieties and the development of wine as a "cultural asset" under Drinking culture.


Today, vinification is generally carried out using sophisticated methods with the alternative use of additives. It is up to the winemaker to apply the "right" methods with the utmost care and hygiene or, if necessary, to do without them, and in this context one often hears and reads about "controlled idleness" or "as much as necessary and as little as possible" or non-invasive winemaking.

This refers to gentle, low-impact production by relying on gravity as much as possible when transporting grapes, must and wine, avoiding certain techniques such as filtration or fining and using as few or no substances as possible. The aim is therefore to use the 100 or so authorised agents in winemaking as correctly and sparingly as possible. In this context, traditional techniques in the production of natural wines, raw wines and orange wines have become popular again since the 1990s.

Ecology & sustainability

More and more producers are using environmentally friendly, sustainable forms of production in organic (ecological) viticulture, which strictly regulate the use of the designation organic wine under wine law and also affect not only vineyard work but also cellar technology. Some are not uncontroversial or are only common/authorised in the New World, but are prohibited for member states within the European Union.

Kriterien für die Weinqualität

Vineyard care

The special conditions in a vineyard in connection with the tradition and art of the winemaker in the area concerned are often referred to by the French term terroir. Winemaking begins with the selection of the grape variety and also the rootstock, which is chosen on the basis of its individual characteristics, taking into account the climatic conditions and soil type wherever possible.

An absolute prerequisite for good quality is the suitability of an area/region for viticulture, for which there are a number of measurable criteria. The individual selection of the necessary work in the vineyard has a particular influence on wine quality (see also vineyard care). This is aptly described by the slogan "Quality begins in the vineyard".

Cellar technology

In contrast, many winegrowers apply the non-invasive principle described above with regard to work in the cellar. However, just as in the vineyard, there are a variety of cellar techniques. Depending on the quality and type of wine, vinification can take a few weeks or months for simple wines, but even several years for special products such as sparkling wines(sparkling wine or champagne), dessert wines such as Madeira, port and sherry and wines matured in wooden barrels before they can be bottled and marketed. For top wines with a long shelf life or ageing potential, the process continues with bottle ageing or the ageing process. Such wines only reach their drinking maturity after many years of ageing.

Rotwein - Weintypen Rotwein, Rosé, Orange Wine, Weißwein

Types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate

Alphabetical list of all (mostly) wine, sparkling wine and distillate types regulated by wine law, whereby other drinks made from wine/fruit/grain products are also listed:

reduced-alcohol wine to wine for distilling

Calvados to young wine

Grain wine to orange wine

  • Grain wine (genever): Distillate from grain mash
  • Artificial wine (imitation wine): alcoholic beverage, but not wine
  • Landwein: wine with a protected geographical indication = Wein...

Voices of our members

Dr. Christa Hanten

For my many years of work as an editor with a wine and culinary focus, I always like to inform myself about special questions at Wine lexicon. Spontaneous reading and following links often leads to exciting discoveries in the wide world of wine.

Dr. Christa Hanten
Fachjournalistin, Lektorin und Verkosterin, Wien

The world's largest Lexicon of wine terms.

26,408 Keywords · 47,043 Synonyms · 5,323 Translations · 31,742 Pronunciations · 205,461 Cross-references
made with by our author Norbert F. J. Tischelmayer. About the Lexicon