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

How can I preserve an intentionally wine-stained shirt?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of using red wine as a fabric …

Aug 16, 2019

What exactly does it mean that a wine can express "terroir"? Is it a smell? A taste?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the elusive concept and expression of terroir.

Aug 14, 2019

What is the ideal "total acidity" for Cabernet Sauvignon?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains total acidity, and how it interacts with other …

Aug 12, 2019

Are some wines better-suited to being canned than others?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains which wine styles have been most successful in …

Aug 9, 2019

How can a wine taste like fruits other than grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how all those complex flavors and aromas get …

Aug 7, 2019

Why are people so fascinated/obsessed with wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains a few of the reasons we love wine.

Aug 5, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search