Red Wine Grapes

The various wine grapes available today can produce delicious and unique red wine due to their signature red grape flavors and aroma/bouquet.

Wine grapes
come in hundreds of varieties. All grapes grow on vines but the classic winemaking grape comes from the Vitis Vinifera family of vines. Most red grapes need a much longer growing season than white, so they are usually planted in warmer locations such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and the California Napa Valley.
To learn more about the most popular red wine making grapes click on their individual links below: Also scroll down the page to learn more about the less popular but still important red wine grapes by red wine region.

Cabernet Sauvignon


Pinot Noir




Cabernet Franc





*Petit Verdot [Puh-TEE-Vair-DO}
This is a classic Bordeaux red grape varietal. It has traditionally been used to add color and flavor to the Bordeaux blends It can produce full-bodied, deeply colored, intense wine with peppery spicy flavors when allowed the time to ripen fully. These wine grapes tends to take longer to ripen than the other Bordeaux grapes and therefore has lost favor over time in this region. In the warmer regions of the United States, particularly California, this grape is often vinified as a 100% varietal.


*Barbera [Bar-BEAR-ah]
It is the second most planted red grape in Italy. It tends to produce lighter wines with cherry and raspberry flavors. It is high in acidity and low in tannins and it makes a great wine to pair with foods. It has never been as popular as the sangiovese or nebbiolo wine grapes but is still capable of producing fine wines. It is also widely grown in the California Central Valley.

*Nebbiolo [Nay-bee-OH-loh]
The wines of Barolo and Barbaresco of Northern Italy are made from this grape varietal. They produce very bold, full-bodied intense fruit wines with firm tannins. The grapes home is in the Northwest part of Italy called Piedmont.

*Corvina [Core-VEE-nah]
This grape is capable of producing very light and fruity reds like those from Valpolicella or darker more full-bodied wines from Amarone.

*Dolcetto [Dol-CHET-oh}
A native to the Peidmont area, this grape is referred to as "the little sweet one" and only tends to grow well here. Delicious when served slightly chilled, this sweet red wine is filled with ripe cherry flavors and is great to serve on a summer day.

*Brunello [Bru-ne-loh]
Grown in the South of Tuscany, this grape resembles the sangiovese. It produces more tannic full bodied reds.

*Negro Amaro [Nay-gro-uh-MAR-oh ]
It is referred to as the black bitter due to its dark color and bitter taste. It is grown in the Southeast part of Italy and produces dry, full-bodied intense wines.


*Carignan [Kar-ree-nyahn]
It has become the most widely grown wine grapes in France. Because of this, it produces more red wine than any other grape varietal. Unfortunately the grape is bland in flavor. and is usually blended with other wines like Grenache and Cinsault. The grape has a deep purple color heavy tannins and alcohol. It is also grown in Italy, Spain and in California where it is called Carignane.

*Cinsault [San-SO]
This grape grows well in heat and thrives in the South of France. It is capable of producing full-bodied red wines but is most commonly known for its ability to produce fruity rose wines. It is a perfect summer wine with aromas of berries, peaches, raspberries and strawberries.

*Mourvedre [Moor-VEH-druh]
Used most commonly as a blending grape, Mourvedre has a deep color and good fragrance. The wines produced are usually of medium body. The grape skins are thick and the berry smaller which is why it produces smaller yields and is also why it is rarely seen as a single component varietal wine. In the New World, it is commonly blended with Grenache and Syrah.


*Gamay, [Gah-may]
This is the grape used to make the "infamous" Beaujolais wines. It is a very easy drinking wine with incredible fruit flavors and little to no tannins. Served slightly chilled,they are an excellent wine for daytime summer activities or for those just starting to get their feet wet in the world of red wines.


*Carmenere [Car-men-YARE]
This grape is grown in Chili and very much resembled the Merlot grown there. It produces a wine which is low in tannins and full of blackberry fruit flavors. It use to play a much larger role in the production of wines in the Bordeaux region but due to its low yield, has lost favor in this area.

*Tannat [ Tan-NAT ]
This is the red wine grape of Uruguay. The name of this grape comes from the fact that it typically is high in tannins.


*Touriga Nacional [Too-REE-gah nah-syoo-NAHL]
This high quality Portugese grape produces concentrated fruit and forms the substructure for many of the best port wines.


*Pinotage [Pee-noh-TAH ]
This grape is extensively grown in South Africa. It is considered a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. This grape is also grown in New Zealand and Argentina.


*Petit Syrah[Puh-Tee See-rah ]
A very strong and tannic grape, it is most closely associated with the California area. It produces deeply colored wines with a peppery full bodied flavor. It does, however, also grow in Mexico and South Africa. In addition to being bottled as a varietal, it is often blended with Zinfandel.

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