Difference between Cider and Wine

Two widely-enjoyed beverages are cider and wine. Both are made from fermented fruits, but what is the difference between them? This article will help explain.


Cider and wine are both drinks made from the juice of crushed or pressed fruit, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. The two drinks are very similar to one another, but there are subtle differences that distinguish them.

Apple cider (left) and apple juice (right)


Hard cider
Hard cider

Cider is a beverage made from crushing or pressing fruit, usually apples, and extracting the juice of the fruit. Cider which is fermented is called hard cider, and is alcoholic. Hard cider most often has an alcohol content of 3 – 8% ABV (alcohol by volume). Apple cider is the most common form of cider, and is distinguished from apple juice by being tangier in flavour and cloudier in colour. A picture of apple cider, left, beside apple juice, right is seen above. Below that picture is a picture of hard cider.

Red, white and rosé wines
Red, white and rosé wines (from left to right)

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of crushed fruits, usually grapes. The alcoholic content of wine is commonly 9 – 12% ABV. The three most common types of wine are red wine, white wine, and rosé wine, all pictured above.

Comparison chart

Cider Wine
Not always alcoholic. Almost always alcoholic.
Lower alcohol content. Higher alcohol content.
Traditionally made with apples. Traditionally made with grapes.

Cider vs Wine

What are the differences between cider and wine? The main differences are in:

  • Alcohol content of beverage
  • Fruit commonly used to make the beverage

Cider is not always alcoholic. Non-alcoholic cider is commonly produced in addition to alcoholic cider, which is known as hard cider. Wine, on the other hand, is always known to be alcoholic. While non-alcoholic wines are occasionally made, wine has long had the connotation of being a drink with alcohol content.

Additionally, there is a difference between the alcohol content of each beverage. Hard cider’s alcohol content is 3 – 8% ABV, and wine’s alcohol content is 9 – 12% ABV.

Wine, while it is made with a variety of fruits, is traditionally made with grapes. Cider is commonly made with apples, on the other hand, though variants such as pear cider exist.

Apple wine also exists, but the fermentation process is slightly different and will yield a higher alcohol content than apple cider.