When deciding what wine to get, be it for personal use or to bring for a gift, it is important to consider the alcohol content of the wine.   When pouring wine, the alcohol content needs to be known.  Different amounts should be poured based upon the alcohol content of the specific wine.  You do not want to give out a tad bit too much wine to coworkers by mistake when discussing business!


Different wines have varying levels of alcohol content.  In modern times, there have become more efficient ways to make wine that allow higher alcohol content.  The process involved when creating the wine is what provides it with distinct flavor and alcohol content.  The grapes utilized to make the wine determine how the wine will taste and how intoxicating it will be.


The average ABV for wine is 11.6%, thus placing the average in our lowest alcohol content category for wines.



Categories of Wine by Percentage


The lowest alcohol content wines, which are under 12.5 percent, are within the categories of sparkling, white, and rose.  These wines include:

Sparkling – Italian Prosecco, Italian Asti

White – French  Vouvrey and Muscadet, German Riesling, Portuguese Vinho Verde, Spanish Txacolina

Rose – California White Zinfandel, Portuguese Rose  


Wines with slightly higher alcohol content, from 12.5 to 13.5 percent, include:


Sparkling – California sparkling wine, French Champagne, Spanish Cava.
White – Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Australian Riesling, French Alsace white, French Loire and Bordeaux whites, French white Burgundy, Italian Pinot Grigio, New York Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Oregon Pinot Gris, South African Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albarino.
Rosé – French rosés, Spanish rosés.
Red – French Beaujolais and Burgundy, French Bordeaux, Italian Chianti, Spanish Rioja.



High alcohol content wines, from 13.5 to 14.5 percent, include:


White – Australian Chardonnay, California Chardonnay, California Pinot Gris, California Sauvignon Blanc, California Viognier, Chilean Chardonnay, French Sauternes, South African Chenin Blanc.
Red – Argentine Malbec, Australian Shiraz, California Cabernet Sauvignon, California Pinot Noir, California Syrah, Chilean Merlot, French Rhône red, Italian Barolo


Very high alcohol content wines, from 14.5 and up include:

White –  French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (fortified), Portuguese Madeira (fortified), Spanish sherry (fortified).
Red –  California Petite Sirah, California Zinfandel, Italian Amarone, Portuguese port (fortified).

Port Wine can end up with percentages as high as 20%, making them the seemingly most potent wine out there.  It is said that some wines can go up to 21%, depending upon the individual bottle of wine.

The alcohol content of wine fluctuates depending upon the individual wine.  There are differences in the fermentation process that cause the wine to have different percentages of alcohol content.  There can be a difference of up to 1.5% from what is printed on the label, due to slight inconsistency.