What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?

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,

What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?

—Stan, Auburn, Ala.

Dear Stan,

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are two different names for the same white wine grape. But even though they technically refer to the same grape (or the wines made from that grape), the different terms can be reflective of the region in which the grape is grown, or of the style of wine typically associated with those regions (just like Syrah is also known as Shiraz in some parts of the world). No matter where it’s grown, the underlying primary elements of Pinot Gris/Grigio are citrus flavors and bright acidity.

Pinot Gris is the name for this grape in its native France, where it thrives in the Alsace region. Alsatian Pinot Gris tend to be on the richer, plumper side of the PG spectrum, showing off honey and spice notes. Pinot Gris can also be made into sweet, dessert-style wines in Alsace, known as Vendanges Tardives, which are made from late-harvested grapes.

Pinot Grigio is the Italian name for this grape, and the light, crisp, clean and refreshing Pinot Grigios from northeastern Italy are the best-known versions of this wine here in the United States. Winemakers outside of France and Italy will typically pick the version of the name that invokes the style of their wine.

Whatever you call it, it's hugely popular. According to Wine Spectator sister publication Impact Databank, it’s the second-most-consumed white wine in the U.S., behind Chardonnay and ahead of Moscato and Sauvignon Blanc. Not only that, Italian Pinot Grigios are the most-imported wines by volume, a position held since 2002.

—Dr. Vinny

White Wines Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Are collectible wines still collectible after the wine has gone bad?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny talks to Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago about 50-year-old …

May 17, 2019

Why aren't bottles stored on their sides at wine stores?

Wine's Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why wine bottles need to be stored on their …

May 15, 2019

Is there a polite way to tell a winemaker that I'm not enjoying their wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny suggests a few etiquette tips for kindly declining an …

May 13, 2019

Do you swirl a glass of sparkling wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why there's no need to swirl a glass of …

May 10, 2019

Is it OK to ask guests to bring expensive wine to a party?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny talks party etiquette.

May 8, 2019

What's the difference between Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the origins of the Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet …

May 6, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search