Everyone knows that red wine is made from red grapes and white wine is made from white grapes, right? It might surprise you to find out that the difference between red and white wine is actually more complex than that.
While most red wines are made using dark grapes and most white wines are made using white grapes, wine color is actually related to how the grape juice, called must, is fermented. Red wine is created by fermenting the grape must with the skins and seeds of the grape. The skins and seeds impart their tannins and fruity flavors, giving red wine its dark color, distinctive body, and mouthfeel.
White wine is made from grape must that has been separated from its skins and seeds before fermenting, giving it a lighter body and less tannic mouthfeel. Fun fact: Both red and white grapes produce clear fresh grape juice. There is a type of white champagne called “Blanc de Noir” that is produced from dark grapes that were separated from their skins and seeds before fermenting.
Related: 10 Fun Facts About Wine
Another major difference between red and white wine production is the type of container that they are aged in. Many red wines are aged in oak barrels, which allow the flow of oxygen. The oxidation of red wines causes them to mellow their tartness and fruitiness, and become softer and more velvety over time. White wines are generally aged in stainless steel tanks that do not allow any exposure to oxygen. These tanks help white wines to maintain their acidic, floral, and fruity notes.
Picking between red and white wine is like picking a favorite child. They each have different strengths and are best in different situations. Red wines are generally fuller-bodied with a more nuanced mouthfeel and deeper flavors due to the high amounts of tannins imparted by the grape skins and seeds. White wines tend to feel lighter and crisper in the mouth, with more delicate flavors.
Pairing wine is a true skill but there are some general guidelines that can get you started. Check out our blog on pairing red wines here. And our blog on pairing white wines here. Don’t forget to share your new wine knowledge at your next dinner party!
Oct 23 – 30, 2021
6 nights, 7 days
Milan, Barolo, Alba, and Turin
Join us for a Virtual Food & Wine Pairing with Brooklyn’s Kotti Berliner. Explore delicious döner kebabs paired with wine. Meet Kotti founder, Erkan Emre.
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Join us for a Virtual Tasting with the maker of the #1 selling Sicilian wine in the U.S.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting. The Kunde family has farmed an 1,850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley for 100 years.
Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Great wine starts in the vineyard.
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Very special tasting. Don’t miss it!
Four Generations of Family Pride at Pedroncelli Winery, since 1927
The best rosé in the world comes from Provence.
Voted “#1 in America” in 2013 and 2015 by Open Table customers.
The New York Times described Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s greatest.
Visit the famous wine-growing region of Lodi County, California – virtually!
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Enjoy a winter getaway without even leaving the city.
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