January 5

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


by Rob Baker

If you're new to the world of wine, you may ponder the difference between red and white varieties. The winemaking process is very meticulous and must be performed carefully to ensure the best possible outcome.

This process can also be altered to yield a bottle of red or white. Here are some things to consider next time you buy a bottle to enjoy.

Key Difference Between Red and White

The foundation of all wines is fermented grapes, which can be either red or white. However, the color of the grapes does not impact the color of the wine produced. This is based on how the grapes are processed, specifically when it comes to grape skins.

Red wine goes through a process called maceration, which means the skins are left on the grapes while they're fermenting. This leads to the dark color and robust flavor associated with reds. On the other hand, grapes used to make white wine have the skins removed first, which then contributes to the lighter color and flavor.

From a Health Perspective

Grape skins not only create a bold and dramatic flavor profile in red wine varieties, but they also offer some surprising health benefits. Grape skins are brimming with antioxidants, which are powerful molecules that limit free radical damage in the body. High free radical levels are associated with higher disease risk, including heart disease and cancer.

Because it's higher in antioxidants, moderate consumption of red wine is often associated with benefits, such as enhanced heart health. However, overconsumption of alcohol can cancel out these benefits while also decreasing wellness overall.

Accordingly, those who partake in alcohol must be aware of the recommended limits. For women, one drink per day is considered a moderate level, while the limit for men is two drinks per day. When it comes to wine, one drink is equal to five ounces of liquid.

How to Choose an Amazing Wine

If you're new to the world of wine, you may be intimidated when it comes to tasting and evaluation. Always keep your personal preferences in mind, as each palate is different. You can also use these tips when sampling wine for the first time:

  • Start by visually evaluating the wine. Pay close attention to the way the light filters through the liquid and whether it has "legs," which means the wine leaves streaks inside the glass. 
  • Hold your nose over the glass to determine the aroma. Good wines have many diverse "notes," such as fruit, floral, herbs, spice, and others. Swirling the wine around the glass can help you detect new scents.
  • Sip the wine slowly, taking a small gulp and moving it around your mouth. Once again, pay attention to the different flavor notes. 
  • Finally, swallow the small sip and consider which flavors linger on the palate. If you're not certain, you can repeat the process again.

How to Tell When Wine Is Bad

At some tastings, you encounter a wine that is downright bad, either due to production issues or because of improper storage. In this case, it helps to know the telltale signs of an unpalatable wine.

For example, cloudy liquid typically indicates bacterial growth. As a result, you should discard the bottle. Damage to the cork can also allow air into the bottle, which accelerates the aging process and makes the bottle undrinkable.

You can also tell a lot from the odor of wine. Wine that is too sweet has likely experienced an oxidation issue, while the smell of vinegar means bacteria is a problem. Drinking a bad glass of wine probably won't have health effects, but it will deprive you of a pleasant experience.

Both red and white wines are excellent for all sorts of occasions, from casual dinners to elaborate celebrations. Now that you understand the difference between white and red, you can make a selection confidently no matter where you are.


Diet, Drink, Wine

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