Do vintners ever blend red and white grapes together?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I know that blending of grape varieties is an art that can produce outstanding wines, and some of my favorite wines are blends. Do vintners ever blend red and white grapes together?

—Bud, Westlake Village, Calif.

Dear Bud,

Absolutely. And you’re right that some outstanding wines out there are blends. Let me remind you that most wines out there are blended from more than one grape—even if they only list one variety on the label. How much blending and how the label reads is up to different local laws, so I’ll just gloss over that part and get back to your question.

There are three situations in particular in which it’s very common to blend red and white grapes together. The first is sparkling wine production. The three main grapes used in Champagne are Chardonnay (white), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (both red), which may be bottled separately or in blends. Other sparklers also blend red and white grapes.

The next scenario has its roots in the France’s Rhône region, in particular the Côte-Rôtie. Here Viognier (white) and Syrah (red) are mixed together, and often grow alongside each other and sometimes are even co-fermented together. Other producers of Syrah around the world have adopted this practice, but depending on the labeling laws in each region, if they only add a small amount of Viognier to Syrah (or Shiraz, its other name), the label can still legally say just “Syrah” or “Shiraz.”

The last main scenario (though there are others, of course) is in the production of blush wines. Traditional rosés are made from the first press of red grapes, but some countries allow red plus white to equal pink.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

What's the difference between Port and Sherry?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert, Dr. Vinny, explains what Port and Sherry have in …

Jan 17, 2022

Why does wine taste better at a restaurant than it does at home?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why going out to eat changes the way we …

Jan 10, 2022

Dr. Vinny's Top 5 Questions of 2021

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert, Dr. Vinny, revisits some of the most popular …

Jan 5, 2022

Is the price listed on wine reviews the retail price?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where the price in a Wine Spectator wine review …

Jan 3, 2022

What’s your opinion of wine aerators?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how aerators work and whether or not they should …

Dec 27, 2021

Is it safe to drink a glass of wine that was left out overnight?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explain what happens when wine is over-expo…

Dec 20, 2021