Basic Wine Characteristics

There are many ways to describe wine (rich, fruity, zesty, oaky, big), but there are 5 basic profiles defining the characteristics of wine:


High alcohol. Low alcohol.

The majority of wines have between 8-15% alcohol.

Low AlcoholBelow 11% ABV
Medium Alcohol11% - 13.9% ABV
High Alcohol14% ABV and above

Examples of wines with high alcohol: California and Australia Chardonnay, Amarone, Australian Shiraz, Zinfandel.

Examples of wines with low alcohol: Aperitif Wines, Pinot Grigio, Muscadet, Lambrusco.

Fortified Wines:

Low Alcohol15% - 16.4% ABV
Medium Alcohol16.5% - 18.4% ABV
High Alcohol18.5 ABV and above