October 13, 2022

White Wine vs. Red Wine: What's the Difference?

Everyone knows that wine is made from fermented grape juice, so logic says that red wine is made from red grapes and white wine is made from white grapes. However, that’s not exactly true; nearly all grapes produce a juice that is almost clear. The color of a wine comes not from the juice or pulp, but from the grape skins.

The grape skins and seeds are removed before fermenting when making white wine. While most of the grapes used to make white wine are white, some wines, including some Champagne, are, in reality, fermented from red grapes. This is a style of wine known as “blanc de noir.”

On the other hand, when red wine is made, the grape skins and seeds remain in the juice as it ferments. This is what is responsible for red wine’s distinct color and flavor.

Another big difference between red and white wines is how the wine is fermented; red wines are fermented in traditional oak barrels, whereas, white wines are typically fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aging in oak barrels increases the oxidation process, as well as imbues the red wine with tannins. This creates a rich, smooth flavor. On the other hand, aging white wine in a stainless steel tank reduces the oxidation process, preserving the retain the fresh, fruity flavor of the grapes.

Tannins don’t play a role in the flavor of white wines, but acidity does. There are three primary acids found in wines, tartaric, malic, and citric, and those flavors are more pronounced in white wines than red. The acidity is responsible for white wine’s crisp, tart flavors. It also helps to pair white wine with certain light foods, such as fish and seafood.

Tannins are largely responsible for red wine’s rich flavors. These tannins are phenol compounds found in many plants, such as tea and grapes skins. Tannins provide the underlying reason for red wine’s complex flavors. Likewise, tannins help preserve red wines, allowing reds to age much longer than white wines. Red wines have been traditionally paired with meat dishes, as well as foods with rich, flavorful sauces.

In recent years, red wines have become known for their health benefits; that’s because all of the health benefits of red wine are to be found in the seeds and skins and seeds of the grapes. Tannins, resveratrol, and polyphenols are the secret health ingredient found in the seeds and skins of wine grapes, so only red wines, which are fermented with the skins and seeds have high levels of these healthful compounds.

Overall, red wine also has slightly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as tannins, resveratrol, and polyphenols. However, white wine has fewer calories.

Whether you prefer red or white wine is a matter of personal taste, however, always enjoy wine in moderation.

If you’re in the mood for some red wine or white wine and want to have a unique dining experience as well, check out Cork Bar & Restaurant and make a reservation today!