Syrah vs Shiraz: What Is The Difference?

Updated: May 18, 2020

Close up of Syrah grapes in the vineyard with someone cutting the cluster from the vine.

What is the difference between Syrah and Shiraz? The two names actually reference the same red wine grape. But the different names point to different styles of wine.

Typical Syrah Characteristics

Syrah references the Old World style for this wine, namely the way the French produce it. This style is described as restrained and elegant with subtle fruit notes.

The Syrah grape has a thick skin which gives it a deep inky color. It has a medium level of acidity, high levels of tannin, and a full body with fresh black fruit notes and black pepper. The alcohol content is around 13-14.5% which is a bit more restrained than you’ll find in Shiraz.

Typical Shiraz Characteristics

Shiraz references the style produced in Australia. This style is bold and fruit-forward. Think of it as a bigger, bolder version of the Syrah style.

Shiraz has that deep inky color from the thick grape skins. It has a medium level of acidity, high levels of tannin, and a full body with jammy black fruit. The alcohol content is a hefty 14-15%.

Top Regions for Syrah

These regions in France and California are known for their Syrah style wines.

France: Northern Rhône

California: Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, Sonoma

Top Regions for Shiraz

Australia is known for their Shiraz, but you can find the Shiraz style from other New World regions too.

Australia: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale