How Many Varieties of Wine Are There?

There are more than 10,000 varieties of wine grapes that are grown across the world, and there are hundreds of different types, or varietals, of wine, from red wines such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot to white wines such as chardonnay and viognier. It's difficult to say exactly how many varietals are produced; in some cases, there are wines that are made with the same grape and process but have different names, such as pinot grigio and pinot gris or syrah and shiraz. Additionally, some wines are made with a combination of different grapes, further complicating the process of trying to pin down exactly how many types of wine there are out there.

In general, there are five main categories of wine: red wine, white wine, rose wine, sparkling wine and dessert wine. Sparkling wine can be white, red or rose. Wines are further broken down into sub-categories such as sweet red, dry white and dry rose wines. Within those categories, there can be further divisions based on flavor profile. For example, an herbal dry red wine can be said to have a black pepper/gravel, smoke/tobacco/leather or truffle/forest flavor. The smoke/tobacco/leather division is further divided into tannic or soft wines.