The Difference Between Red and White Wine

Mar 09, 2023 ByClaire Miles

Whether you are a novice sampling wines for the first time or an experienced connoisseur selecting your next favorite vino, you will want to consider the differences between red and white wine. From their composition and health benefits to their unique flavor profiles, there is a vast difference in how these two wines are made and enjoyed. Here are fascinating differences between red wine and white wine. As one of the most famous wines, red wines are named for their rich, bold, velvety hues ranging from purple, and red to brown, representing the age of the wine, from young to mature and older. It is made from dark, black, and red grapes and processed with their skins. White wines are made from white grapes, but some are also made from darker grapes. It has a light color because the skin is removed before fermentation. Without the skin, white wine is sweeter than red wine.

Red wines typically have higher levels of alcohol than white wines due to the fermentation process and how long the wine spends in oak barrels. For white wine, the alcohol level is usually lower because it spends less time in the barrel. Tannins are a compound that gives red wine its characteristic bitterness and astringency. They are also present in other fruits, such as grape skins and bark, which contribute to their flavor. White wines do not have as high of a tannin content, so they are usually more accessible for those who prefer fewer bitter wines.

Celebrating with white wine


Typically, red wine glasses have larger bowls than white wine glasses, and for a good reason. Red wines generally require more aeration, so a wider opening allows them to interact more with the surrounding air. This reveals the wine’s flavors and softens the tannins, just as a decanter does. White wines, on the other hand, tend to be more floral. A small white wine glass will bring it closer to your nose. Small bowls also help keep the wine cold and maintain its acidity.