Dry vs. Sweet Wines

Wine is a valuable and classy addition to anyone’s home, whether or not you’re a wine enthusiast, a causal drinker, or just want to get started in the whole, high-class business. It is a symbol of wealth and power—status and luxury. Kings, emperors, queens, and many other powerful people have all drank wine even in biblical times. However, there are things about the wine world that might seem confusing or daunting. Let’s start with one of the basics: dry vs. sweet wines.

At its simplest form, dry and sweet wines are just that—unsweet and sweet. Most of the main wines have dry and sweet forms and can be made as such. It all depends on the fermentation process and how much sugar was left in it. While the sugar may indeed increase the sweetness, there are other factors that may seem to give it sweetness. Either way, the sugar is the main factor.

There are many ways to increase or decrease the sweetness when making wine. The main factor in it is decided when fermenting. If the sugar is left in during the fermentation processes, that will, of course, make the wine more sweet. If the sugar is removed, then it will be dry. Certain brands are known for their dryness or sweetness, so it’s easy to pick and choose between them.

The sweetness is measured with a code on your bottles. Many take into consideration the Liquid Control Board of Ontario for sweetness in your wine, where 0-5 is dry, and anything above 5 is considered sweet, all the way up to 30. It is measured from extra dry to 15, which is the sweetest it can be. It really depends on your taste, however.

When picking a wine to pair with a meal or to have on a night out, you must consider the food that you’re consuming with it, if you are going to be eating. If you are going to be eating something acidy, like seafood, grains, or veggies, you’ll want something sweet to balance it out. This is why dry (usually white) wines are recommended for eating seafood. If you’re eating something more savory like red meat or cured meat, you’ll want to balance it out with something heavier like sweet red wine.

Dry white wines:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Gruner V.
  • Sauvignon Blanc

Sweet white wines:

  • Riesling
  • Moscato

Dry red wines:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Gamay
  • Pinotage

Sweet red wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Zinfandel
  • Aglianico

There are many things you should consider when picking out a dry or sweet wine. Just remember that dry is usually for lighter meals and sweet is for heavier ones. Lighter meals include vegetables, bread and cheese, seafood, and other smaller increments. Sweet wine is used for heavier meats like chicken, steak, pasta, and other reds. The colors should match! It’s never a bad idea to pair a good glass of wine with a meal, so don’t be afraid to experiment. You might shy away from the price at times, but only the best wine will make the best meals.