Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Gris

Taylor Simpson
May 3, 2023 | Taylor Simpson

Pinot Grigio vs. Pinot Gris

Award-Winning Pinot Grigio in Northern Michigan

The Difference Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

Whether you're a fledging wine fan or you've been a part of the Good Harbor Vineyards for years, the distinctions between similar types of wine can become fuzzy. While most wines have vastly different characteristics, there are plenty of easily confused ones as well. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are among the easiest to confuse. These wines are incredibly similar and have their roots in the same history, but there are some distinctions that set them apart. Get the details on the differences from Michigan's leader in Pinot Grigio, Good Harbor Vineyards.

Good Harbor Vineyards VinePair Best Wines of 2022

Pinot Gris Vs. Pinot Grigio

It's true that Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are quite alike. Both wines are made from grayish-purple grapes native to the Alsace region of France. Over the centuries since this wine was first made, the signature grapes have found homes in many other regions of the world, including Northern Italy, the Pacific Northwest, and even Australia. However, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio have diverged slightly from each other, with these main differences:

Region of Origin

Pinot Gris is the older version of this wine, first created in the Alsace region of France. As the popularity of this French beverage grew, it moved across borders and into the north of Italy. The grayish grapes also flourished in this region, giving birth to Pinot Grigio (note that "grigio" is just the Italian translation of "gris").

Production Method

One major way Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wine contrast is their production methods. Classic Pinot Gris is made from the ripest grapes and crafted in a barrel, usually wooden. On the other hand, grapes for Pinot Grigio tend to be harvested earlier, leading to a crisper and drier flavor. Most Pinot Grigio winemakers choose stainless steel barrels to age their wine, further contributing to the fresh taste.

The Pinot Grigio Taste Is Quite Different, Too

Because grapes for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are treated so differently, it follows that resulting wines will boast different tasting notes. While they are certainly similar, a seasoned wine connoisseur will likely sense a distinction between these two popular white wines. Here's a quick overview of what to expect from a glass of each.

Pinot Grigio Wine Notes

Pinot Grigio is known for its fresh, even "zippy" flavor. Because of the steel-aged production method, this white wine has as much acidity preserved as possible. Those who enjoy a good glass of Pinot Grigio can look forward to the following notes:

  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • White nectarine
  • Honeysuckle

Pinot Gris Wine Notes In contrast to Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris has a little less zing and acidity as a result of its barrel-aged production process. Nevertheless, this wine tends to have more structure. Some winemakers may also introduce a few new spice notes to the mix, such as:

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Honey

Get Bottles of Pinot Grigio Delivered to Your Door

At the end of the day, while there are subtle differences between the Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio taste, these terms are often used interchangeably. Whether you prefer a zingy glass of Pinot Grigio or love the refined flavors of Pinot Gris, we have the white wine for you. At Good Harbor Vineyards, we strive to be a leader in Michigan's winemaking community, and over the years, we've come to be known as one of the top wineries around Traverse City. Our team welcomes you to visit our picturesque vineyards for a tasting.


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