If you are new to the world of red wines, you may have heard a lot of terms used to describe many wines that look alike. For example, in red wines, there are dry wines, and sweet wines, and it seems a number of wines in between. So what's the difference? Dry wines are wines that have no sugar residue.

The fermentation process that creates wine is a process where the sugar in the grapes is broken down, and fermented, to create the wine. Sometimes there are residual sugars in the wine, once the fermentation process is complete. Other times sugars are added. As more of these sugars are added, the sweeter the wine becomes. But in order to become a dry wine, those residual sugars have to be gone.

Dry wines are considered more complex and sophisticated. The joy of drinking a dry wine is that you can experience the amazing nuances of flavours that are melded together. You can have tobacco, earth, chocolate, berry and other flavours that are pure in the wine. It also is meant to meld with the meal being consumed to create new flavours as the residual food flavouring and wine are combined between bites.

Here are some tips for choosing a red wine

This is the baby of the dry red wine family. It's considered the introductory red wine that has a softer taste than many others, but can be pared well with meats and fish.
Pinot Noir
A medium dry red wine that pairs well with creamy sauces, spicy foods, and most meats.
Red Zinfandel
Considered a pasta wine, as it pairs well with any tomato based foods or sauces. This is a heavy wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon
Meant to be paired with red meat this is a very hearty wine that often has an oaky or spicy flavour.
Shiraz or Syrah
These are the more hearty red wines. They are paired with red meats for the best impact.

Fruity Red Wines

There are so many types of fruity red wines that it is difficult to remember them all. Manischewitz wine, for example, tastes essentially like alcoholic grape juice. Whereas Champagne is considered a fruity wine but can actually taste quite bitter to some people.


Port is a style of dessert wine. It tends to have a much higher alcohol level than most wines, ranging anywhere between 15 and 20%, so it can burn a little, but Port is designed to keep its natural fruit flavouring. There are several different styles of Port wine, so you can easily find one that goes well with your meal, and if you have people that are not fond of dry wines, there is no question that port is likely the wine for them.

Alcohol Units per Glass

When consuming wine it's always a good idea to keep track of the alcohol units each glass - or bottle - contains, to ensure you stay within the recommended limits. To help calculate the amount of units you have consumed, use our alcohol unit calculator; a simple to use tool where you enter the amount of wine consumed (as well as other popular drink types).