What Differentiates Red Wine from White Wine?

Harold Lehon
3 min readSep 21, 2022

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Wine is fermented grape juice, and the taste is mainly determined by the other ingredients added. However, the process is not that simple when it comes to differentiating or making red or white wine.

Although made from the same fruit, things still set these two kinds of wine apart. For example, the fermentation process is different for both, and the type of grapes used in the process also plays a significant role.

Red wine is made from black grapes. The skin of these grapes and their seeds give this kind of wine its light or dark reddish color. The hues range from deep violet, mainly seen in earlier wines, to brick red in older wines and brown in really old wines.

On the other hand, white wine is a wine with a yellowish or clear texture. This kind of wine is made from yellow or green grapes. However, they can also be derived from black grapes if their dark skins are peeled off. White wine is always lighter than its red variant.

Apart from the kind of grapes used and the texture, there are other differences. One of which is the process used in making the wine. In the case of white wines, the grape’s skin is removed before it is fermented, giving this wine its white or clear texture. This is why it is possible to make white wine from dark grapes.

On the other hand, when making red wine, the skins are added with the juice. The grape seeds are also added. The color and flavor of red wine are extracted through a process called maceration.

For red wine, adding the skin to the fermenting juice can be likened to putting a tea bag in hot water to extract the bag’s essence. And the longer it stays, the more flavor sips into the wine. In some cases, the wine’s redness is determined by how long the skin spends in the juice.

Another differentiating factor between red and white wine is sugar content and the potential health benefits. In general, red wine has the least amount of sugar per glass, averaging approximately 0.03 ounces. Each glass of white wine typically contains 0.5 ounces of sugar; however, this depends on the variety or make of the wine.

But you shouldn’t make a decision just based on sugar content. Several more elements must be considered when assessing the potential health effects of various wines. Consider red wine as an instance; Red wines often have a greater total calorie count than other wines, partly because of their higher alcohol level, while having the lowest amount of sugar of all the varietals. The best way to choose the wine that will meet your demands is to understand the situation completely.

A final difference is the foods they are paired with. Red wine comes in a variety to match every sort of meal, but most individuals drink white wine alone or with lighter fare.

These pairings have become classics, but not for any official reason; instead, they came about because people intuitively understood how diverse wine varietals interacted with the various ingredients in meals, such as salt and acidity. The secret is to blend textures and tastes that go well together.

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Harold Lehon
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Harold Lehon — Business Leader with over a Decade of Experience