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Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio

You’ve probably heard of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris if you enjoy drinking wine. Despite the fact that these two wines are frequently used interchangeably, they have some significant distinctions that set them apart. Despite coming from the same grape, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio can have significantly diverse flavors depending on how they are produced, harvested, and processed.

pinot gris, Cabernet sauvignon and pino noir in cellar with barrels

The history and origins of Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are distinct.

While Pinot Grigio is an Italian wine, Pinot Gris is a French wine from the Alsace region.

The grape variety was introduced to Italy from France in the nineteenth century, and it immediately gained traction in the nation’s northeast.

Today, Pinot Grigio is a well-liked white wine, renowned for its light, crisp, and refreshing flavor.

On the other hand, Pinot Gris is less well-known but is becoming more popular because of its robust, peppery flavor.

Key Takeaways

  • Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are made from the same grape but have different taste profiles and histories.
  • The viticulture and winemaking processes for these wines can vary greatly, resulting in unique flavor profiles.
  • When choosing between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, consider the occasion and food pairings to find the perfect match for your palate.

Origins and History

The grape variety known by the names Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, a mutation of Pinot Noir, is the same.

Glass and bottle of rose wine on light background.

It is thought that the Fromenteau grape variety came into existence in the Middle Ages in the Burgundy region of France.

By 1300, the grape variety had reached Switzerland and was making its way to Northern Italy, where it was well-liked in the wine industry.

Origins of Pinot Gris

The grape variety is known as Pinot Gris in France, where the Alsace area is where it is most frequently grown.

Bottle of a vintage chardonnay with two poured glasses, figs, grapes, blue cheese

Fromenteau, which translates to “wheat-colored,” was the original name given to the grape variety because of its golden hue.

Due to the fruit’s grayish-blue hue, the grape variety eventually took the name Pinot Gris, which translates to “gray Pinot.”

Origins of Pinot Grigio

The grape variety is known as Pinot Grigio in Italy, where it is mostly grown in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Veneto regions.

Wine with grape and cheese on wooden wall background

The grape varietal is thought to have traveled from France to Italy in the 1800s.

The grape variety’s name, Pinot Grigio, which translates to “gray Pinot,” comes from the fruit’s grayish-blue hue.

Compared to Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris often has a richer texture, a fuller body, and a greater alcohol percentage.

Contrarily, Pinot Grigio is more often lighter in body, sharper in texture, and lower in alcohol.

The style of wine can differ significantly based on the winemaker’s preferences, the climate, and the soil types in which the grapes are grown, though there are many exceptions to these generalizations.


The same grape variety, also known as Pinot Grigio, is used to produce both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.

Two wineglasses of vintage chardonnay with delicious appetizers

The grape is known as “gris” or “gray” in French because of its grayish/brownish pink skin.

It is thought that the grape, a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape, originated in Burgundy, France.

Growing Regions

Tokay Pinot Gris is the name given to the variety of Pinot Gris that is mostly grown in the Alsace area of France.

The grape is also grown in the United States, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Italy.

The majority of Pinot Grigio is grown in Italy, primarily in the northeastern provinces of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

But the grape is also grown in other parts of the world, including Australia, California, and Oregon.

Climate and Soil

The grapes for Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio do well in cool temperatures.

They favor mineral- and nutrient-rich, well-draining soils. Clay, limestone, and volcanic rock-based soils are optimal for the grapes’ growth.

A mild, dry climate with warm days and cool nights is perfect for cultivating Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.

Harvesting and Winemaking

Grapes for Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are typically harvested in the first to second half of September.

The grapes are manually selected, and any damaged or immature grapes are then sorted out.

After pressing, the juice from the grapes is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Before being bottled, the wine is matured for a while.

Flavor Profile

The flavor qualities of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris wines vary.

Typically crisp and light-bodied, Pinot Grigio has notes of pear, green apple, and lemon.

Contrarily, Pinot Gris is fuller-bodied and tastes of peach, apricot, and honey.

Additionally, Pinot Gris contains a little bit more alcohol than Pinot Grigio.

Winemaking Process

While the methods for manufacturing Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are similar, there are significant distinctions that may have an impact on the quality of the wine.

Wines assortment. Red, white, rose wine in wineglasses and bottles on gray background


When the grapes are fully mature, which is often in late August or early September, they are typically harvested for both wines.

After being crushed, the grapes’ juice is extracted and utilized to make wine.


The major distinction between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio occurs during the fermentation process.

Pinot Grigio normally undergoes a cool-temperature fermentation in stainless steel tanks, which helps to maintain the wine’s freshness and acidity.

Contrarily, Pinot Gris is frequently fermented in oak barrels or stored on lees, which can give it a creamier, richer body and more nuanced tastes.


While Pinot Gris can be kept for several years before it is ready to drink, Pinot Grigio is typically bottled and sold within a year of its harvest.

This is due to Pinot Gris’ increased acidity and tannin content, which can aid in its ability to age well.


To generate a special wine, some vintners might decide to combine Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio grapes.

This is frequently done in areas where the two types are frequently grown side by side, such as Oregon and California.

While Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are made using essentially the same techniques, the changes in fermentation and age can result in pronounced flavor and textural differences.

Taste Profiles

Despite coming from the same grape variety, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris have different taste characteristics as a result of various winemaking processes.

Vineyard,Gate of Bohemia, a bottle and a glass white wine

Pinot Gris

The flavor profile of Pinot Gris is renowned for being full-bodied, rich, and nuanced.

It has a distinctive weight and feel on the tongue and tastes like ripe pears, apples, and peaches.

The wine’s complexity is increased with a smidgen of spice.

Pinot Gris pairs well with hearty, savory foods because of its fragrance of fresh fruit, honey, and perhaps a hint of minerality.

Pinot Grigio

Contrarily, the flavor profile of pinot gris is lighter and fresher. Its fresh acidity gives it a zippy, vibrant personality.

With a hint of green apple and pear, Pinot Grigio boasts notes of citrus fruits including lemon, lime, and grapefruit.

It is the ideal wine to pair with light, flavorful foods like salads, shellfish, and grilled vegetables.


While Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris have different flavor characteristics, they do have some things in common.

Both wines include characteristics of pear, apple, and peach and are fruit-forward.

Additionally, they have a reviving acidity that makes them ideal for sipping in the heat. Pinot Grigio is lighter and more refreshing, whilst Pinot Gris is richer and more complex.

In conclusion, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris have diverse flavor profiles, therefore it’s critical to select the appropriate wine for the setting.

Pinot Gris is a great option if you’re searching for a rich and nuanced wine to go with savory foods.

Pinot Grigio is the wine to choose if you’re looking for something light and cool to sip on during a scorching summer day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Closeup hand pouring white wine from bottle with blank label to glass

What is the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are two names for the same grape variety. The grape originated in France, where it is known as Pinot Gris. In Italy, it is known as Pinot Grigio. The main difference between the two is the style of wine they produce. Pinot Grigio is typically lighter, crisper, and more acidic, while Pinot Gris is usually fuller-bodied, with a richer, spicier flavor.

Is Pinot Gris sweet or dry?

Pinot Gris can be made in a range of styles, from dry to sweet. Most Pinot Gris wines are dry, but some producers make off-dry or sweet versions. The sweetness level of the wine depends on the winemaker’s preference and the ripeness of the grapes.

What food pairs well with Pinot Grigio?

Pinot Grigio is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of foods. It is particularly well-suited to light, summery dishes, such as salads, seafood, and pasta with light sauces. Pinot Grigio also pairs well with spicy foods, as its acidity helps to balance the heat.

What food pairs well with Pinot Gris?

Pinot Gris is a fuller-bodied wine that pairs well with richer, more flavorful dishes. It is particularly well-suited to dishes with creamy sauces, such as chicken alfredo or fettuccine carbonara. Pinot Gris also pairs well with spicy Asian dishes, as its spiciness complements the heat of the food.

What is the best temperature to serve Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are best served chilled. The ideal temperature for serving Pinot Grigio is between 45-50°F (7-10°C). Pinot Gris is best served slightly warmer, between 50-55°F (10-13°C). Serving the wine too cold can mute its flavors, while serving it too warm can make it taste heavy and alcoholic.

How long can Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio be stored?

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are typically meant to be consumed within a few years of their vintage date. While some high-quality examples can age for up to 5-7 years, most are best enjoyed young and fresh. To ensure that your Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio is at its best, store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat.

antique green white wine bottle with seal stopper pourer, pouring wine


In conclusion, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are both names for the same grape variety, but the distinctions in the names frequently correspond to variations in origin and style.

While Pinot Gris is frequently connected with France and is renowned for its richer, spicier, and more complex flavor profile, Pinot Grigio is typically associated with Italy and is noted for its light, crisp, and refreshing taste.

Pinot Grigio is a versatile wine when it comes to food pairings; it goes well with light and fresh foods like shellfish, salads, and appetizers.

The richer and heavier foods like roasted meats, creamy sauces, and cheese go nicely with Pinot Gris, a more full-bodied wine.

Both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are offered at a range of pricing points, from budget-friendly to luxurious. The locale, the producer, and the vintage can all affect the price.

The decision between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio ultimately comes down to taste and the situation.

Both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio offer a variety of options to fit your taste and price range, whether you want a light and energizing wine or one that is richer and more nuanced.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.