How many types of wines are there?

From the outset, I must tell you that there are many and not all of them will be here. I will leave things, surely. But with this we can start to get an idea

age classification

This is perhaps one of the most used (if we ignore the color). We can find:

Young or of the year

Also known as vintage wine, it has not spent any time in the barrel or not long enough to be considered “crianza”. It is marketed in its first or second year of life, it does not need to be stored for a long time and, in general, it is characterized by maintaining its properties for a maximum of two years.

Semi-aging or Oak

It is the wine that has spent less than six months in the barrel, but without reaching the aging periods of the different regulatory councils. One of the most relevant characteristics of semi-crianza wines is that they have a slightly longer life than that of young wines.


It is marketed in its third year of life, after spending at least one year in barrels, in the case of reds. The rest of the time it ages in the bottle before being labelled. These wines can last from five to ten years of life, depending on the storage conditions.


The “Reserva” wine has been subjected to at least three full years of aging, although the minimum period of stay in the barrel coincides with that of aging: one year.

great reserve

Only exceptional harvests reach this category, it is characterized by the fact that high-quality grapes are necessary for its production. They are usually labeled after spending at least two years in the barrel and three in the bottle. In other words, gran reserva wine needs to age for at least five years.

Does it always have to be like this?

The answer is no. In fact, more and more winemakers do not include these classifying “words” on their labels. Rather, they explain the aging time or not, or the production process, or the vintage. This classification is quite “corseted” and that, for example, they have the adjective “reserve” (or other) is not synonymous with higher or lower quality. Not much less.

Classification by elaboration

It is perhaps one of the least known in terms of types, however, we use it frequently (without going into some subtypes).

Still Wines

White, pink or red. This classification can be combined with the previous one in all cases.

Sparkling Wines

The natural ones, the gasified ones or the needle ones. Within the former there are various methods such as the traditional champenoise, for example.

Special Wines

Generous, fortified wines, natural sweets and mistelas. This group is very broad and has many crafting subtypes.

Sorting by sweetness

This is one of the classifications with the most contradictions when it comes to choosing, since we often confuse fruity with sweet and it does not have to be that way.

  • Dry: < 5 grams/liter sugars.
  • Semi-dry: 5-15 g/l sugars.
  • Advocates: 15-30 g/l sugars.
  • Semi-sweets: 30-50 g/l sugars.
  • Sweets: > 50 g/l sugars.

There are more classifications. Above all, by subtypes, but for today we leave it there so as not to mess up the subject too much.

javier field
Sommelier and wine writer

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