Understanding key characteristics of each wine varietal is one of the first components of helping you identify the wines you like, and why.

New World wines are generally labeled by varietal, where Old World wines are labeled by region (i.e. Bordeaux wine refers to a wine made in the Bordeaux region of France. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are two varietals grown in Bordeaux).

Please see below for a list of common wine varietals as provided by The California Wine Club.

Chardonnay (shar-doe-NAY)

Chablis, Champagne, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Chardonnay, Melon Blanc, Rousseau
Gewürztraminer (guh-vurts-TRA-MEE-NER)
Frencher, Klaebinger, Livora, Rothweiner, Traminer
Pinot Grigio (PEE-noh GREE-zOH) Malvoisie, Pinot Gris, Sivi Pinot, Szürkebarát, Tokay d'Alsace
Riesling (REEZ-ling) Feher Rajnai, Johannisberg Riesling, Klingelberger, Rhein, Rheingauer, Mosel, Rosslinger, Ruessel, Starovetski, Uva Pussila
Sauvignon Blanc (SOH-vin-yohn BLAHN) White Bordeaux, Fume Blanc, Muskat Silvaner, Sauternes, Zöld Ortlibi
Viognier (vee-oh-NYAY) Bergeron, Picotin Blanc, Viogne, Galopine, Vugava bijela
Zinfandel Blush (ZIN-fan-dell - bləSH) Crljenak Kaštelanski, Primitivo, Rose, White Zinfandel
Cabernet Sauvignon (ka-ber-NAY saw-vee-YOHN) Bidure, Bordeaux, Carmenet, Petite Vidure, Sauvignon Rouge, Veron
Corvina (kor-VEE-nuh) Amarone, Veronese, Bardolino, Valpolicella
Gamay (ga-MAY) Beaujolais, Gamay Noir, Red Burgundy
Grenache (gruh-NASH) Alicante, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tocai, Vieux Chateau Du Roi
Malbec (MAHL-bek) Cot, Cahors, Auxerrois, Malbeck, Pressac, Anjou, Coteaux du Loir, Touraine
Merlot (mer-LOW) Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Medoc, Red Bordeaux
Montepulciano (mon-tay-pool-CHANO) Primaticcio, Uva Abruzzo, Violone, Abruzzo, Rosso, Marche
Nebbiolo (neh-B’YO-low) Barolo, Barbaresco, Spanna, Piedmont, Roero
Pinot Noir (PEE-noh NWAHR) Pinot Negro, Red Burgundy, Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder. Volnay, Pommard
Sangiovese (san-joh-VAY-zeh) Chianti, Nielluccio, Sangioveto, Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino
Shiraz (SH(i)əˈräz) Syrah, Hermitage, Scyras
Tempranillo (tem-pra-NEE-yoh) Rioja, Tinto Fino, Tinta Roriz, Ribera del Duero, Port