What’s the Difference Between Red Wine and White Wine?

The difference is more than just the colour!

The difference between white wine and red wine is found primarily in the grape skins. The grape skins have a natural phenolic content that contributes to the flavour, colour and mouthfeel of a wine. Let’s take a closer look…

 

the anatomy of a grape. red wine vs white wine
Created by JustWine

 

What is Red Wine?

 

Red Wine vs White Wine – What makes red wine red?

Red wine is made with black/dark-coloured grape varieties. However, if you squish a red grape between your fingers you’ll see the juice is clear, not red. What makes red wine red is not the juice, but the red grape skins mixed in the juice.

 

How is Red Wine Made?

Steps to Red Wine Production

  1. Crush — breaking the grape skins to release the juice
  2. Ferment — turning the juice to alcohol; grape skins are present and mixed in with the juice for maximum colour, texture and flavour
  3. Press — separating the skins from the juice

 

What does red wine taste like?

Does red and white wine taste the time?

Various flavour characteristics may overlap when describing red and white wines. However, red wine tastes like red and black/dark berry flavours. Red wine tends to have a fuller body than white wine, thus producing a heavier weight on the palate. However, there are full-bodied white wines and light-bodied reds.

Click here to learn more about how to determine a wine’s body.

 

Types of Red Wine

What are the most popular red grape varieties?

We’re sure you’ve come across many red wines before, although, they come in come in different grape varieties which determine whether they are sweet or dry, light, medium or full-bodied and their alcohol content. The most common red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah / Shiraz, Pinot Noir and more! Red grapes like Zinfandel are used to produce white wines like White Zinfandel by removing the grape skin in the fermentation process. Although, “White” Zinfandel can also be pink!

To learn more about red grape varieties, check out our list of red wines.

 

 

 

What is White Wine?

 

Red Wine vs White Wine – What makes white wine white?

White wine is mainly a product of white grape varieties. Unlike red wine, white wine is fermented without the grape skins, which is white it is white in colour (much like the juice from a grape!)

Can you make white wine from red grapes?

Yes! Although there are a few exceptions, because the juice is clear for all grapes, you can make white wine from red grapes. This is common in making Champagne, as most are made with Pinot Noir (black grape), Pinot Meunier (black grape) and Chardonnay (white grape). The finished product is a clear, white sparkling wine even though 2/3 of the grapes used are red.

 

How is White Wine Made?

Steps to White Wine Production

  1. Crush — breaking the grape skins to release the juice
  2. Press — separating the skins from the juice; grape skins are not necessary for colour, tannin or flavour in the final product
  3. Ferment — turning the juice into alcohol

 

What does white wine taste like?

Unlike red wines, white wines have a more crisp flavour and aroma. White wines tend to have more yellow, green and orange fruit flavours, such as apples, oranges, lemons, pears and melon.

Are white wines sweeter than red?

Although you can find sweet white and red wines, white wines are typically sweeter than red wines because white wines possess fewer tannins. The sweetness in wine is determined by the amount of tannins in the wine from the grape.

Which is more acidic red or white?

White wines typically display more acidity than red wines, as acidity is what gives white wines that crispness on the palate. It’s important to remember that grapes grown in cooler climates tend to produce more acid.

 

Types of White Wine

What are the most popular white wines?

There many different types of white wine, the most common whites are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and more!

To learn more about different types of white wine, check out our list of white wine.

 

wine wine vs red wine, what’s the difference?

Created by JustWine

 


Want to learn more about wine production? For a more in-depth explanation of how to make wine, check out:
How Wine Is Made: 6 Steps from Harvest to Maturation


 

Now that you know the similarities and differences between red wine and white wine, check out these articles on wine education:

Wine Basics: The Best Beginners Guide to Wine
Wine Basics: An Intermediate Guide to Wine
Wine Basics: Advanced Wine Guide