Sweet Wines For Beginners: Wines For Your Sweet Tooth

Sweet Wines For Beginners
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Finding sweet wines for beginners is easy when you use this guide. You will find specific wine varietals to try whether you like fruity, fortified, or white wines.

What Wines Are The Sweetest?

In general, dessert wines are the sweetest wines you can find. For example, ice wine from Canada or Germany is famous for its sweet taste. In addition, fortified wines like a port from Portugal are noted for their sweet taste. When looking at the wine label, look for the term “late harvest wines” because that means that the wine grapes have had more time on the vine to develop sugar. Finally, French wine lovers will recommend Sauternes.

Prefer sparkling wine instead? There are plenty of good options there. Demi-sec champagne wine has a very relatively high level of residual sugar. In most restaurants, bars, and wine stores, you will see “brut Champagne,” with about two grams of residual sugar per liter, while demi-sec champagne has more than 8 grams of residual sugar per liter.

Tip: Prefer a different style of wine? Try these low sugar wines.

Sweet Wine For Beginners: Avoid Starting With The Sweetest Wine!

Opening a bottle of the sweetest wine available is not the best place to start as a beginner (use your how to open cork wine skills with other bottles instead). The reason is simple. Dry wines make up the vast majority of wines sold today. Therefore, your taste buds are almost certainly used to dry wines. Abruptly switching to sweet wines with a very high level of sugar will probably be overwhelming, even if you have a sweet tooth.

Rather than picking up the sweetest wines, look for wines that emphasize fruity flavors. Some wine lovers call these wines “fruit-forward.” In this type of wine, there is a moderate amount of sugar content, and you can easily experience the fruit flavors in the wine. For example, Australian red wines are typically known for their fruity flavors. In contrast, European wines tend to balance the natural sweetness in wine with other flavors.

When looking for sweet wine for beginners, look for the following in the wine store or restaurant.

  • Off-Dry. The off-dry category of wine is an excellent entry-level to the world of sweeter wines.
  • Late Harvest Wines. The specific sugar content will vary depending on the bottle. Generally speaking, German Rieslings described as late harvest wines have a significant sugar level.
  • Dessert Wine. It is best to start with a small serving of dessert wine when you drink it for the first time. Fortunately, most restaurants will serve you a small glass if you order something like port wine.
  • Sweet Dessert Pairing. Traditionally, dessert food pairings and wine are challenging. The sugar content in most desserts is so high that it overwhelms the wine. Fortunately, you can make it work with dark chocolate. To learn more about enjoying dark chocolate with wine, check out my post: Wine Chocolate Pairing: 7 steps to take dessert to a new level.

Sweet Wines For Beginners Frequently Asked Questions

What makes wine sweet?

Three main factors make a wine sweet. Wine drinkers looking for their next sweet bottle of wine, like Grand Moscato, should know their way around these factors. Understanding these factors means you easily find sweet wines for beginners.

Residual Sugar Content

The most important is residual sugar. All wine grape varieties naturally produce sugar. During the fermentation process, those natural sugars are converted into alcohol content. In most types of wine, the majority of the sugar content in grape juice is converted into alcohol. Natural grape sugars are found in almost every bottle of wine sold today.

Tip: Want to avoid sugar in wine? There are some options available. Find out more in this guide to low sugar wines.

Noble Rot Wine

In addition, you may have also heard of noble rot wine. In some cases, a particular fungus called Botrytis cinerea changes wine. In most cases, noble rot wine is transformed into sweeter delicious wines. It might sound strange that a fungus can be beneficial. However, there are two points to keep in mind. Not all winemakers favor noble rot wine – it is far from universal, so you can avoid it if you don’t like the idea. Those wine producers that make this type of wine do so carefully to produce a sweet bottle of wine. Rotten grapes in the right hands can lead to enjoying sweet flavors in your wine glass.


You are likely to encounter wine with added sugar during your wine journey eventually. Most wine drinkers today dislike the idea of adding sugar to wine. That said, if you pick up a bottle of highly affordable wine which tastes sweet, there is a good chance of added sugar. There are cases where adding sugar can make sense, such as if the wine has sky-high acidity levels. In the past, some wine producers added so much sugar to their wine that they earned a bad reputation. Thankfully, this practice is fading in popularity.

Is Pinot Noir sweet or dry?

The short and simple answer is that most Pinot Noir is made in a dry style. If you pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir at random, it will likely be made in a dry style. In addition, it is also important to note that winemakers use a variety of techniques. Some of these techniques lead to a dry style, and some lead to a sweeter style. To discover more about the wonderful world of Pinot Noir, check out my comparison guide: Pinot Noir vs. Cabernet Sauvignon.

What is a sweet white wine for beginners?

I recommend looking for a late harvest white wine for beginner wine drinkers. German Rieslings are an excellent choice. Look for the phrase “Spätlese“ (literally “late harvest”) on the wine labels.

Is Merlot sweet or dry?

The vast majority of Merlot wine is made in a dry style. That said, Merlot wines are also made in sweet styles. What should you make of the fruity aromas in your glass of Merlot then? There is a simple explanation. Trained wine drinkers distinguish between sugar content and fruity flavors. When a wine has a high level of grams of sugar, it will be considered a sweet wine.  

Is Barefoot wine sweet?

Barefoot wine is a significant wine producer that produces many different types of wines. It isn’t easy to make a general statement on whether their wines are sweet or dry. That said, Barefoot Moscato is noted for its sweeter taste. It is well worth trying Barefoot wine as you seek out sweet wines for beginners.

Sweet Wines For Beginners: Wines For Your Sweet Tooth
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