Is Riesling Sweet or Dry? Your Taste Buds Are Begging For This Answer

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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The good news with Riesling is that it can be both sweet and dry. The bad news is that most people can not tell if it’s sweet or dry. Unfortunately, that’s how versatile the grape is because it can make you believe in the perception of either or.  

Riesling is a very acidic wine. In fact, its grapes are one of the most acidic ones in the world. However, because of its acidity, it tastes fresh and is delicious. 

So wine producers add residual sugar to Riesling because they believe it is needed to balance out the acidity. To do that, they stop the fermentation so that the yeast doesn’t turn into alcohol and therefore produces sugar.

If you are torn between the two, don’t worry, we’ll be discussing both in-depth. You’ll learn the difference and make an informed decision the next time you buy a bottle of Riesling.

Woman drinking wine outdoors - Is Riesling Sweet or Dry?

Have a Preference for Sweet or Dry Wine and Want to Try Riesling?

Riesling is one of those wines that can trick your mind. Some can range from just 3 grams of sugar (very dry) to over 300 grams of sugar (very sweet). There’s an in-between too, which means most people can enjoy Riesling because of this versatility.

A dry white wine is dry with a maximum of 4 grams of residual sugar. Riesling, however, has 6 to 9 grams of acidity per liter, which is considered high. 

Therefore, Riesling often has at least 6 grams of residual sugar, which will often make the wine feel “somewhat dry” because of the high acidity.  

You’ll find sweeter Rieslings made from warmer regions that have apples, pears, and even rhubarb in the wine. Some may have hints of honey if the Riesling is aged for a few years.


Is Riesling sweeter or drier than other white wines?

Compared to other white wines, Riesling is considered sweeter. Even though it has high acidity, most winemakers stop the fermentation process early enough to allow the residual sugar to develop. 

It is still drier than wine, like Moscato, but much sweeter than a Pinot Grigio.


How can you tell if a Riesling is as sweet or dry as I like before I buy it?

If you are not a Riesling expert, then you wouldn’t know if the wine is sweet or dry before you buy it. However, there are some places that offer wine tastings (Riesling included!) so that you can determine if you prefer the wine to be sweet or dry. 

You can then decide from there if you’d like to buy a bottle or not. When you are ready to buy a bottle, you’ll need to understand what regions make the Riesling. Although Germany is the world’s most popular Riesling producer, most of the wines there are sweeter. 

However, dry Riesling is becoming more popular as consumers are looking for less sugar in their diets.

If buying a German wine and would like the dry versions, look for these words on the label:


  • Trocken (dry)
  • Haltrocken (half-dry)


 If you see the word “trockenbeerenauslese,” be assured it is NOT a dry wine. It’s very sweet and very expensive. The reason that the word trocken is included is that the grapes were allowed to dry out on the vine, which made the sugar more concentrated.


Are there sweet versions of Riesling wine?

Yes! There is a vast selection of sweet Riesling wine! Check out the list below:


  • Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling
  • B Lovely Late Harvest Riesling
  • HXM Inspiration Riesling
  • Blue Vin Riesling


As these are just some sweet versions of Riesling that you can enjoy, whether it’s from Germany, the US, or other countries, there are a plethora of options to enjoy this version of Riesling.

Final Thoughts on Riesling’s Taste

Sweet and dry Rieslings are extremely popular among wine lovers. Unfortunately, it’s hard to choose between the two because both taste delicious. 

But, now that you’re informed that both styles are great, hopefully, it’ll be an easier decision to choose one the next time you go shopping.