Here's What Makes Red Wine And White Wine Different

The next time you're enjoying a glass of wine, consider that humanity's love for the libation goes back quite a long way. As reported by the BBC in 2017, ancient pottery discovered near the Georgian capital of Tbilisi tested positive for wine residue. What's most impressive is the age of the winemaking apparatus, as one receptacle may have originated in 5,980 BC. This archaeological find uncovered what is now the oldest proof of winemaking on record, meaning that humans have been enjoying wine and all its benefits for more than 8,000 years.

Despite humanity's long history with vino, lots of misinformation still abounds. Marketview Liquor covers some of the most common myths regarding wine, such as its always a faux pas to chill red wine, or that the sulfites in certain wines contribute to headaches. In fact, some red wines should be chilled, and sulfites don't usually impact a person's wellness unless they're specifically allergic to them. When it comes to wine knowledge, many people also ponder the difference between reds and whites. In addition to the obvious, there's also a major difference in the way these wines are manufactured.

Much of the difference lies in the winemaking process

As illustrated by, winemaking is a complex, meticulous process that involves numerous steps. It begins with a grape harvest, which must take place at the exact right time to ensure optimum quality. Crushing comes next, which is followed by the fermentation process. Wine grapes are fermented by adding yeast to the mix, which combines with the sugar in the grapes to create alcohol. Once fermented, most wine is aged in wooden barrels, although steel, glass, and clay containers can also be used. After the aging process is complete, the wine is bottled and sent out to retailers.

The manufacturing process for reds and whites basically follows the same steps, with one key difference. According to Napa Cabs, red wine grapes are crushed with the skin still intact, while the skin is removed from white wine grapes before they are crushed. This seemingly slight difference accounts for the significant variations between taste and color. Skins give red wine its deep coloring and bold yet bitter flavor. As for whites, the lack of skin allows for a lighter color and a sweeter flavor. However, both red and white wine can be evaluated using two important aspects.

Two essential factors to consider when tasting wine

Fruit flavors are central to all wines, and McClain Cellars explains that wines get their complex flavor profiles from compounds called stereoisomers. During the fermentation process, these compounds are pulled out of the grapes to imbue the resulting wine with its unique flavoring. In general, fruit flavors in wine fall into one of three categories. Red fruit includes flavors like cherry, red plum, raspberry, and strawberry. Dark fruit consists of black cherry, blueberry, plum, and blackberry. As for citrus, flavors include apple, apricot, pear, peach, and even pineapple.

Structure is another essential component of wine, as explained by Bring a Bottle. While the concept is a bit challenging to grasp, bear in mind that a wine's structure is composed of five elements, including its fruit flavor. Sweetness is the second element, as wines range from sweet — think port — to dry. Acidity is up next, and this element ranges from low to high, with sauvignon blancs being the gold standard when it comes to high acidity. After acidity comes body or mouthfeel. A full body refers to a heavier wine, while light-bodied varieties are usually breezier on the palate. Tannins are next, which are organic compounds that give a wine its bitter, mouth-puckering flavor. Grape skins are brimming with tannins, so reds are naturally higher than whites in this respect.