What does Varietal mean?


Varietal describes wines made primarily from a single named grape variety, referring to the wine produced by a variety. By law, the varietal must have at least 75% of that grape.

For example, A Texas bottle of wine labeled Zinfandel must contain at least 75% Zinfandel grapes. Usually the name of that variety is on the actual wine label. A few examples of grape varieties commonly used in varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot. Historically, the most popular way of labeling wine has been by the region it comes from.

The French are the strongest promoters of this method of labeling, with their world-famous regions of Burgundy, Champagne, and Beaujolais. As vintners and consumers have become aware of the characteristics of individual varieties of wine grapes, wines have also come to be identified by varietal names. Later, as you gain understanding through tasting wines, you will begin to recognize subtle differences within each varietal.

For more information on wine varietals, check out our blogs on Wine Trends here!