Red wine vs white wine: what’s the difference?

glasses of red wine and white wine

Do you have a favorite wine? With so many to choose from in terms of grape, sweetness and flavor, it can be difficult to choose just one.

Some people simply prefer red wines over white, and vice versa, while other people prefer one over the other depending on what they’re eating.

But, what actually makes for the difference between the two? The answer is in the actual production of the wine, specifically how using different parts of the grape can create new flavors.

The difference between red and white wines goes beyond just taste, it includes differences in the maturation process and also on a molecular level.

As a general point, red wines are made with red grapes like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Zinfandel, and white wines are made from white grapes like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon blanc, Moscato and Riesling.

However, some red grapes can also be made into white wines, and some white grapes can be made into reddish wines, so the rule is not set in stone.

After the grapes are picked and are on their way to the cellar for production, the red and white grapes go on different pathways to create their unique flavors. Learn more about the different wines below:

What Gives Red Wines Their Color?

Red wines tend to fall on the more bitter side and taste more bold and complex – they often pair well with beef, pork, chocolate and cheese.

Tannin, which is a plant compound that binds to proteins and amino acids, gives red wine a pucker feeling when enjoyed.

Tannins also give red wine a more bitter taste and are responsible for the heavier mouthfeel in the back of your mouth. They have less sugar and tend to be more acidic, while also containing flavonoids and complex flavors.


Red wines get their deep ruby color from fermenting grape juice with the skins and seeds of the grape, allowing all the grape parts to ferment together creates the deep pigment that colors the juice, while also giving it a tannin flavor.

The grapes are soaked before and after fermentation and the skin is mixed into the juice throughout production, then they are matured in oak barrels, which increases oxygen and allows the wine to breathe.

This also adds oaky flavors and changes the structure of the tannins, making them stronger…
Continue reading the article and learn more about wines on Tammy Broccas’ blog..

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