The Differences between Dry, Semi Dry and Sweet Wines


When a wine is classified as a dry wine, it means that the sugar content is low enough that the taster does not perceive the wine as sweet. During the fermentation the natural sugar of the grapes is turned into alcohol and no additional sugar is added. Although many dry wines are still sweet to the smell, the taste is perceived to be tart. Many red wines are considered to be dry. A few of these include Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot . There are also some white wines that are dry. A few of these include, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio.

A wine that is considered a semi-dry or off dry wine has a sweet taste, but is not as fruity as a sweet wine. Sweet wine, which contains residual sugar, is often referred to as dessert wine because of its high sugar content. Sweet wines are either made from varieties of the Muscat grape, they undergo “noble rot” meaning that the sugar is concentrated while the grape is growing, or they are taken off of the fermentation process before all of the natural sugars are converted into alcohol. Any of these processes help keep the sweet taste of the wine. Sweet wines include White Zinfandel, Riesling, and Moscato.

Check out our Wine Trend Blogs for more information on Wine Varietals.