Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Comparing Pinot Grigio

U.S. Pinot Grigio:  Let’s look at a Pinot Grigio from cooler wine growing regions in California and Oregon.  While there are many bulk brands promoting simple, inexpensive Pinot Grigio much in the same way as their Italian cousins (below), California’s more moderate climate where much of these wines are grown results in a shorter growing season and riper grapes at harvest.  The resulting grapes may have slightly more sugar driving higher alcohol in the fermented wine.  While remaining super dry, fresh and crisp, these wines may feel a little heavier and even sweeter than a similar bulk Italian Pinot Grigio.  Chill well and serve on a warm spring or hot summer day.  Oregon wine makers tend to lean more toward the Pinot Gris style of wine making and benefit from cooler climates and longer growing seasons for the grapes to build complex flavors and more depth than their California siblings. 

Italian Pinot Grigio:  Nearly all of Italy’s Pinot Grigio is grown in the North-Eastern part of the country in the foothills of the Alps mountain range.  While amazing wines can come from this region, most of the imports in the U.S. are bulk, mass-produced wines (think “Have Nots” from Module 1) which reflect a very specific style the U.S. market has adopted for its bright acidity, light body, simplicity of flavor and refreshingly low alcohol.  Pinot Grigio made in this style requires no aging, does not need specific food pairings to enhance its flavor, nor is it typically expensive.  Crisp, refreshing, dry and simple.

Top Growing Regions:

U.S. Pinot Gris / Grigio Regions:

  • California – San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Yolo, Sacramento, Fresno counties 
  • Oregon – Pinot Gris
  • Washington State
  • Ohio
  • Michigan

Global Pinot Gris / Grigio Regions:

  • Italy – North / North-eastern
  • France – Alsace
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand