Dry Wine Term

Dry is a very odd term in the wine world. A wine is wet! It's a liquid! How could a wine possibly be dry?

Somehow the term "dry" in the wine world has come to mean NOT SWEET. It doesn't mean the wine is tart. It doesn't mean the wine is sour. It simply means the wine is NOT sweet.

Think of the sweetest thing you can - maybe a triple layer chocolate cake. Now think of something like a plate of cheese. The plate of cheese is not tart or sour or bad. It is simply less sweet. That is what dry means.

Dry wines tend to be red wines, and often dry is used to describe wines that are rich and hearty like Red Bordeaux. Dry wines can be tough for new wine drinkers who have grown up on super-sweet drinks like HiC and Coke. Those new wine drinkers have taste buds that are used to super-sweet flavors, and they have trouble drinking non-sweet beverages. It's like drinking black coffee instead of a coffee with 8 sugars and 8 creams in it.

Still, dry wines have their own appeal, it's all a matter of getting used to them.

Generally speaking there is NO way just looking at a bottle if it is going to be sweet or dry. You can make some guesses. A "late harvest" wine is picked when sugars have extra time to gather so those are normally sweeter. Ice wines, picked when the grapes are frozen, are generally very sweet. Other than that, though, you have to read the description of the wine to make a guess. A given grape - for example Riesling - can be made in a sweet style or a dry style. It all depends on the winemaker's desires.

Wine Sweet Dry Tasting Chart
Sweet Red Wines
Wine for a Sweet Tooth
Sweet Wine Term

Wine Glossary Main Listing
D Glossary Words

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.