Apéritif wines are more than just beverages, they’re a custom long-practiced in Europe––and it only takes looking at a few bar menus to see that they’re catching on at an accelerating rate in America too. What makes a wine an apéritif is more a product of occasion, location, and the character of the food following the apéritif than the character of the wine itself. The best starting point for choosing one is with the definition of apéritif, a French word that evolved from the Latin verb aperture
that means “to open.” As such, an apéritif (whether wine or not) is a drinkable appetizer meant to stimulate the appetite before a meal; it is the counterpart to the digestif that closes the meal. If you are having guests over, apéritifs are a perfect way to welcome them.
So how do you choose the right apéritif? There aren’t really any rules other than choosing a beverage that’s enjoyable and intriguing to drink. Gin, fortified wines, liqueurs, cocktails and even beer qualify. That being said, apéritifs are typically light-bodied alcoholic beverages, and most-commonly a dry and bittersweet white wine. The Spanish and Italian favorite, Vermouth
is by far the most prevalent apéritif wine in the world, but apéritifs can vary greatly by region. The Greeks love ouzo, the Germans Riesling, the Portuguese port, the French cognac
or Champagne (especially in a kir royal
). Americans are well-known to have used Chardonnay as our go-to apéritif wine, but we’ve begun to branch out to the fortified wines and herbal liqueurs
that many Europeans have enjoyed for ages. So take your pick from our brands below. Then, relax and awaken your tastebuds.