Types of Dessert Wine

types of dessert wineTypes of Dessert Wine

By Mark Adams

Mark is a professional winemaker, former winery owner, author and frequent speaker on wine.  He currently teaches wine classes throughout the United States.

As a kid who didn’t want to skip the brussel sprouts and go right to dessert? Well, now that you’re an adult, you don’t have to eat them…You can have dessert first!

Strange concept, huh, dessert first? Well it sounds great on paper, but it’s even better in real life. Lets talk first about the types of dessert wine.

What are they and when and how should you drink them? Answer…early and often.

Dessert wines are exactly what you think they are, wines that are thick and sweet and replace your traditional food desserts.

Actually you don’t have to replace the traditional desserts, I say why not have both? But if you have a sweet tooth, dessert wines are for you.

Think for a moment of how we eat a meal. Usually we start off with something light like an appetizer, then something heavier as the main meal and then finish with something sweet, like chocolate or cake or ice cream.

In Europe, they do exactly that. On a recent trip to Italy, I noticed they eat an appetizer, an antipasta or pasta before the meal, then the main meal, then salad or a cheese plate and then usually some type of dessert wine.

We should drink wine the same way. The appetizer wine is actually called an aperitif, then your main wine and of course the dessert wine. Pretty simple when you think about it, huh?

Enough of the soap box stuff, let’s talk turkey. Dessert wines come from grapes that are left on the vine well past the traditional growing season so as much sugar as possible is created in the grape.

Then only the best grapes are picked by hand. These grapes literally go through the ringer. They are pressed multiple times to release all of their flavors and then and only then are they bottled.

Usually you will see this style of wine in half bottles (375ml) because a little goes a long way.

The wine is thick, sweet and strong.

If you would like the convenience of ordering you Dessert wine online, one company that I like is My Wines Direct.  They have been around for years and have an excellent reputation.  There prices are really good and they offer free shipping on all wine and wine gifts at MyWinesDirect.com,

Everyday Free Shipping!  No code necessary.


Dessert wines have evolved through the years. Early on you had various European varieties that were sweet but the most popular variety was Sauternes from the Sauternes region in southern France.

As we learned earlier, in Europe they use the region to name the wine, not the variety. So you may be ahead of me here and are asking yourself what variety do they use?

Kudos if you were thinking that BTW. Well, my eager wine expert in training, several different types of grapes can be used but the main grape is called Semillon.

Simply use your best attempt at a French accent and you will be able to pronounce this grape…If you can’t pronounce it, don’t worry, nobody else can either.

If you’ve never had this wine, think of the old Alka Seltzer commercial that said. Try it…you’ll like it!

So here’s to enjoying all types of dessert wine!

Click these links if you’re interested in online wine classes or simply want to learn about wine