The Real Reason Red and White Wine are Different Colors

by Rebecca Mundahl

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.

Skin or No Skin: Where Does Wine Color Come From?

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

Barrel or Tank?

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!



FEATURED EVENTS

Crush Wine Experiences

October 23, 2021

A once-in-a-lifetime experience

Piedmont Italy: Barolo and Barbaresco tour

Oct 23 – 30, 2021
6 nights, 7 days
Milan, Barolo, Alba, and Turin

RESERVE NOW
Crush Wine Experiences

September 23, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kotti Berliner – Food & Wine Pairing

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.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

September 16, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Broadbent Selections – Portugal

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with one of America’s leading importers of high-quality Portuguese wines.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

September 2, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Cusumano Winery – Sicily, Italy

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with the maker of the #1 selling Sicilian wine in the U.S.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 26, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kunde Family Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. The Kunde family has farmed an 1,850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley for 100 years.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Dutcher Crossing Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Distinctive and hand-crafted wines produced from award-winning vineyards.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

June 12, 2020

At Your Home

RGNY At-Home Blending Session

Be your own winemaker for a day — guided by a professional on Zoom video!

PURCHASE KIT & ZOOM TICKET
Crush Wine Experiences

May 29, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Virtual Wine & Pizza Tasting with Jamesport Vineyards

What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 21, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Chateau Montelena Winery Virtual Tasting

This tasting will be epic.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Monte Bello winery

The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 18, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Tenuta di Lilliano Virtual Tasting

Very special tasting. Don’t miss it!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 15, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Pedroncelli Winery Virtual Tasting

Four Generations of Family Pride at Pedroncelli Winery, since 1927

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 14, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Provence Rosé Group Virtual Tasting

The best rosé in the world comes from Provence.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 13, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

St. Francis Winery Virtual Tasting

Voted “#1 in America” in 2013 and 2015 by Open Table customers.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Lytton Springs

The New York Times described Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s greatest.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 11, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Oak Farm Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit the famous wine-growing region of Lodi County, California – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 8, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Goldschmidt Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit Sonoma County – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

April 18, 2020

Marlboro, NY

Wines & Bites!

Hudson Valley’s yummiest wine and food tasting event

GET TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

March 7, 2020

New York’s Premier Winter Wine Event

NYC Winter Wine and Food Festival

Enjoy a winter getaway without even leaving the city.

GET TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

January 19, 2020

Riverhead, NY

RG|NY Blending Session

Join RG|NY winemaker Lilia Perez, for a unique tasting and blending session.

PURCHASE TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

December 14, 2019

Ulster & Orange Counties, NY

Wreath Fineries at the Wineries

Don’t miss the ultimate holiday wine tasting event in the Hudson Valley. Sales end Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:59pm!

PURCHASE TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

November 14, 2019

New York, NY

Around The World In 10 Wines

Experience a global tasting in 2 hours with award-winning artisan cheese and charcuterie

PURCHASE TICKETS

RELATED WINE BLOGS

Thursday, November 24th, 2022

5 Thanksgiving Wines from 5 Countries
Lighter-bodied wines with less oak are great holiday choices Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday of November every year Rioja is great with cranberry sauce or any baked pies Thanksgiving usually involves multiple dishes scattered throughout the table to be shared by loved ones on this special day of feasting. So, to make - Read More
Read more...
harvest

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

A Day In The Life of a Harvest Intern
Happy harvest season everyone! The job of a harvest intern involves many aspects of wine industry production including the not-so-pretty parts like being covered in grape juice at the end of a shift or getting chased by bees on the crush pad. Coming from a culinary background I’ve always been surrounded by people who’ve dedicated - Read More
Read more...
syrah

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Syrah 101: So Nice They Named it Twice
While it’s called Syrah through most of the world, this native of the Rhône Valley goes by Shiraz in Australia. And though they’re both the same grape, this name distinction is used to indicate the different styles of Syrah (or Shiraz!).  Keep reading to explore the dry, full-bodied, and food-friendly Syrah – where it grows, - Read More
Read more...
LOAD MORE