Difference between Wine and Brandy

Two widely enjoyed alcoholic beverages are brandy and wine. These two beverages, though different from one another, actually come from the same source. This article will help explain the difference between them.


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

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented fruit, usually grapes. It is a “soft” alcohol, because it is not distilled, and has an alcohol content of 9 – 12% alcohol by volume. Wine is made by crushing and fermenting grapes, releasing juice, the sugars of which are converted into alcohol during fermentation, a process called winemaking. The three most common types of wine are red wine, white wine, and rosé wine, all pictured above.

Brandy in a sniffer glass

Brandy is an alcoholic beverage distilled from wine, typically containing 35 – 60% alcohol by volume. It is known as a “hard liquor,” because it is distilled rather than fermented. The wine used to make brandy is usually base wine, a type of wine differing from regularly enjoyed wines in that the grapes used to make the wine are not ripened as much, and have a lower sugar content. Once the wine is made, it is distilled into brandy in two phases. The first phase removes much of the solids and water content from the wine, and in the second phase, the residue from the first phase is distilled into brandy.

Comparison chart

Wine Brandy
Soft liquor. Hard liquor.
Fermented, but not distilled. Distilled.
Lower alcohol content (9 – 12% ABV) Higher alcohol content (35 – 60% ABV)

Wine vs Brandy

What is the difference between Wine and Brandy? There are a few differences. The first is that wine is a soft liquor, and brandy is a hard liquor. Soft liquor includes beverages such as beer, cider, and wine. These beverages are not created through distillation, but through fermentation. Hard liquor, on the other hand, examples of which are whiskey, vodka, brandy, and rum, is distilled. In the case of brandy and wine, brandy is distilled from wine. Distillation gives brandy a higher alcohol content.


The below video explains in-depth how an apple brandy is made.