Red Wine vs White Wine: The Real Differences

Sourced from the Wine Folly


The differences between red and white wines go far beyond just the choice of grapes and the color. Here are several fascinating facts about the real differences between red and white wines. 

Red Wine vs White Wine


Made with Different Grapes

Fundamentally speaking, red wines are made with red grapes (Pinot NoirCabernet Sauvignon, etc.) and white wines are made with white grapes (ChardonnayPinot Grigio, etc). What’s interesting, though, is that nearly all wines we find in the marketplace were originally made from one species of grape called Vitis vinifera.Ampelographers believe that the first Vitis vinifera grapes were black grapes (e.g. red wine grapes) and that a natural mutation created the first white grapes. 

For example, Pinot Noir (a black grape), Pinot Gris (a pinkish-gray grape), and Pinot Blanc (a white grape) all 

Made Using Different Parts of the Grape

After the grapes are picked and head to the cellar for winemaking, different processes are used to make red wine versus to make white wine. One of the most important differences is that red wines are fermented with the grape skins and seeds and white wines are not. This is because all the color in red wine comes from the skins and seeds of the grapes. 

There are a couple of special cases where this isn’t true and the result is very different tasting wines. For example, there is a type of Champagne called “Blanc de Noirs” or “white of blacks,” which is made in a similar way to white wine makingand ends up to be a wine that looks like a white wine. Another example of this is White Pinot Noir, or Pinot d’Alsace. 

With white wines, there is also a special method where white grapes are fermented with the skins and seeds of the white grapes. Wines made with this technique are referred to as Orange Wines, and they taste similar to red wines and have tannin.This technique is still quite rare and the wines are unlike any other!

Made with Different Wine Making Methods

Red wines are loved for their soft, rich, and velvety flavors, whereas white wines are loved for their zesty acidity, floral aromas, and pure fruit notes. To achieve these results, winemakers enlist two very different methods of winemaking. The largest difference between red winemaking and white winemaking is the oxidation that causes the wines to lose their floral and fruit notes in exchange for rich, nutty flavors and more smoothness. To increase oxygen, winemakers use oak barrelsbecause they breathe and allow the wine to ingress oxygen. To reduce the exposure to oxygen, winemakers use stainless steel tanks, which ensures that wines retain their fruitiness and flower flavors.

Each Type Has Different Chemical Compounds

So, the big question remains: 

“Which type of wine is better for you?” 

Well, since all the health benefits associated with wine are found in the skins and seeds of the wine grape, then red wines are the style of wine that’s commonly considered “better” for you. That said, not all red wines are equally!

Great Reads for the Wine Geek

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It doesn’t matter what got you down the wine-geek rabbit hole, the important thing is that you’re here now and that you’re hungry for more (…or, thirsty for more). What we wine enthusiasts know well is that it’s not about how much wine you drink, it’s about the stories, the quality, and the uniqueness of each wine that makes our hobby truly special. In fact, the more you know about wine, the less you drink to be drunk. For me, being a wine geek involves being drunk on history, drunk on science, drunk on knowledge, and it’s an obsession that will inspire you to try new things and see the world through a different lens. The more you learn the more you identify with this quote: 

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

If you’re reading this and going “that’s me!” then I have some delightful reading material for you. Here are 6 new books that will open your eyes to innovative ideas and surprising possibilities in the areas of science, culture, history, and travel all relating to our favorite topic: wine.

Volcanic Wines by John Szabo
Wine masters will talk about the importance of elevation when it comes to wine quality and the distinct taste inherent to wines made from grapes that are grown on volcanic soils. This must have been mulling around in John Szabo’s head until a flash of understanding occurred: the most distinct, terroir-driven wines in the world are found around volcanos. This book identifies eight volcanic wine-growing regions around the world, some of these areas (Macaronesia and Hungary) still rarely (if ever) make blips on Wine Spectator’s point rating database. The book includes exceptional maps, photographs, and special details about each region’s wines.

Faugères by Rosemary George
Forget Bordeaux for a minute and take a trip to the dirty south of France. I say dirty because the Languedoc-Roussillon region has long been considered the dead sea of en vrac – cheap, crappy, bulk wine. Despite this horrible past reputation, this area shows some of the greatest wine potential in France right now. One of the top regions to know here is Faugères and this is the book that will get you into SOF (South of France) in a big way. You’d be smart to have a bottle of Vielles Vignes close by.




Seared Summer Red Wine Pot Roast

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: about 4 hours
Skill Level: Easy
Serves:  6 - 8 people as a meal

2 tbsp. olive oil
5 lbs. raw roasting beef
1 large tin whole plum tomatoes with liquid
3 carrots, roughly chopped
4 parsnips, roughly chopped
½ celery root, roughly chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 cups Domaine Leseurre Cabernet Franc wine
Extra bottle of Domaine Leseurre Cabernet Franc wine to drink with the roast
2 cups beef broth
20 baby potatoes, whole, skin on
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh sage
1 baguette, torn into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy ovenproof pot with lid, or in cast iron pan (to be transferred to ovenproof pot with lid after if using cast iron pan) over high heat.

Salt and pepper both sides of the roast, then sear it for about a minute on each side. Set meat aside on a separate plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, celery root, carrots, garlic and onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Pour in the Domaine Leseurre wine. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan/pot to loosen all of the little caramelized and brown bits at the bottom.

Return the meat to the pot and add the rosemary, sage and thyme, and the warm beef broth. Ensure all of the veggies are pushed down into broth, cover the pot and place in the oven.

Cook for 3.5 to 4.5 hours, making sure the beef is “fork-tender” before removing it from the heat.

Note : Cooking time will vary based on size of roast, convection vs. non-convection oven, and style and quality of oven, so it is important to start checking your roast with a fork after 3 hours to see if it’s ready .

Transfer meat and veggies with lots of the red wine sauce into wide rimmed shallow bowls and serve, with lots of fresh bread to sop up the sauce and enjoy with a bottle of Domaine LeSeurre Barrel Aged Cab Franc of course!


Summer Brined and Roasted Turkey

Turkey dinners aren’t just for the holidays! They make a great spring and summer dinner, full of aromatic fruit and spice flavours, and pairs perfectly with Dry or Semi-Dry Riesling. Try serving it with candied heirloom carrots, and a fresh garden salad with dried cranberries and goat cheese with a ginger, lemon, miso salad dressing, instead of the traditional heavy mashed potatoes and stuffing. Substitute heavy beef gravies with a spicy lighter sauce, like Swiss Chalet or St. Hubert’s bbq sauce, available at most grocery stores. Keep the concept of cranberry sauce, but consider a fruit chutney or compote instead, or stick with tradition and serve cranberry sauce, but consider making it yourself.

Soaking this turkey overnight in our brine ensures the moistest turkey you’ll ever make. When you add aromatics to the brine, the result is a bird infused with flavour and spice, perfect for summer evenings. The bonus of cooking this bird in the summer is that you can sit in the backyard sipping wine all day while the bird roasts away, minimal supervision is required!

Brining Time: 24 hours
Prep Time: Roughly 2.5 hours
Cook Time: Roughly 4 hours
Skill Level: Medium
Serves:  10 - 12 people or more as a meal, with sides


·       28 cups of water, or unsalted vegetable stock, or apple cider (or you can mix all three if you’d like)

·       1 bottle Domaine LeSeurre Dry Riesling
•      1 1/2 cups coarse salt1

·       1 1/2 cups sugar

·       6 dry bay leaves (or 8 to 10 fresh)

·       1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger

·       2 tbsp. whole black or coloured peppercorns

·       1 1/2 tsp. dried red chilli flakes

·       6 large garlic cloves, smashed

·       1 bunch fresh thyme

·       1 bunch fresh rosemary

·       1 bunch fresh sage

·       2 large red apples (sweet apples, like Red Delicious)

·       2 large oranges

·       ½ stick unsalted butter at room temperature

·       1 fresh whole fresh turkey (not frozen, not kosher as kosher birds are already salted, unseasoned) (about 18 to 22 pounds), rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets and liver removed and discarded

Makes enough brine for one 18 to 22 pound turkey

Important note: Stuffing/Dressing should never be made inside a brined turkey, nor should you use the contents of the roasting pan to make gravy – both will be far too salty!

What you’ll need:
·       5-gallon brining container (tub, stockpot, or bucket), we recommend a large jamming pot with lid
·       Large brining or oven-roasting bag to line the pot with (this is a must!)
·       Make room in your refrigerator for your brining container ahead of time. This could involve moving shelves around, so plan ahead
·       Large roasting pan with rack
·       Turkey-baster
·       Meat thermometer
·       Turkey lifters

Brining Directions:

·       Start with ¼ of the liquid you plan on using (not the wine) is a large pot and turn to low-medium heat. Add the salt and sugar and whisk until dissolved.

·       Add the peel of the two oranges (reserve the orange flesh, you will place in turkey cavity tomorrow), bay leaves, half bunch of each herb on stems, the fresh grated ginger, the crushed chilli peppers, garlic, and peppercorns. Stir for a few minutes and then set mixture aside to cool completely.

·       In your large, lined, brining vessel, add the turkey and remaining liquid ingredients, including the bottle of wine. Add completely cooled contents from pot, add the remaining liquid to the bag. Make sure the turkey is completely covered in the brine. If it is not, add cold water until covered. Tie the bag shut, put lid on if available, and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.

 After 24 hours: Cooking Directions:
·       Remove turkey from brine and rinse with water (this will be a bit messy, make sure your sink is clean and rinse turkey in sink).

·       Pat turkey dry with paper towel and place in large roasting pan on rack, breast side up.

·       Allow turkey to come to room temperature (about two hours)

·       If legs are not already tied together, tie together with kitchen twine.

·       Quarter  apples and reserved oranges and place loosely in turkey cavity.

·       Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

·       Take the rest of the herbs, remove leaves from stems and mix with room temperature butter. Cover turkey with mixture (once turkey has come to room temperature).

·       Place turkey in oven, and allow to cook for 1 hour without opening oven.

·       After an hour, without opening, turn temperature down to 300 and continue roasting for 2 more hours.

·       After two hours, use the turkey-baster to pull melted butter and juices from bottom of pan and baste turkey. Allow to cook for 2o minutes. Check the temperature of the turkey. Continue to cook until internal temperature reaches proper temperature for breast and thigh meat, both having reached a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Continue basting and checking every 20 minutes throughout this process. As a rough guideline, each pound of turkey needs about 12 minutes of cooking time.

·       When done, remove turkey from oven allow to rest at room temperature, loosely tented with tinfoil, for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This is a very important final step! If you carve the turkey right away all of the juices will run out and all of your hard work will be for nothing as turkey will taste dry. Let the bird rest!

·       Remove and discard apples and oranges from turkey cavity. Do not eat.

·       Carve and serve your turkey with a bottle of Domaine LeSeurre Semi-Dry or Dry Riesling!


Beef Bourgogne

I learned how to make this recipe from the head chef at a villa in Tuscany. It is a wonderful recipe and you can use any full-bodied un-oaked or lightly oaked red wine. Make sure you choose a wine that you like the taste of in the glass, not a cheap cooking wine. It’s a great recipe to make the day after a party when you have multiple open bottles of wine that you won’t be able to drink before they go bad. It’s also a great meal to make when you have company over all day as it takes hours to cook but minimal supervision, and the aromas of the beef stewing away in the wine and vegetables caramelizing on the stove will fill your home with warmth all day long. This is a very rich meal and shouldn’t be spoiled with appetizers.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Skill Level: Easy
Serves:  6 - 8 people as a meal

• 2 standard sized packages of store pre-packaged stewing beef, cut into large chunks
• 3 regular sized carrots – peeled and blunt cut into large chunks
• 3 chopped medium yellow/cooking onions
• 3 cloves of garlic - diced
• 2 cups of sliced mushrooms (white or cremini)
• ½ stick of butter
• Fresh herbs: 2 sprigs rosemary, 3 springs thyme, 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
• 1 – 2 tbsp. powdered beef stock
• 3 x 750 ml bottle of Sobon Cabernet Sauvignon red wine (the third bottle is to drink with dinner)
• Fresh baguette torn into pieces, for dipping


Put two bottles of wine and the beef in a saucepan and bring to simmer on medium-low heat.

Once wine is simmering turn down to lowest heat that will maintain simmer, and cover (simmer) for one hour.

Open lid, add one teaspoon fresh ground pepper, one sprig of rosemary, two sprigs of thyme, and one bay leaf. Recover and simmer for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, after first hour, in a large saucepan or pot, add ¼ stick of butter on low-medium heat (3 on numbers stoves). Once butter is melted, add onions, cover, and allow to cook on low for one hour.

After one hour stir onions and recover for one more hour.

After second hour, add remaining butter, carrots and garlic. Allow to cook down stirring every 20 minutes or so.

After about 40 minutes, push all of the vegetables to the side and add the mushrooms to the other side, stirring occasionally allowing edges to brown.

 Once mushrooms have browned a little around the edges, mix all vegetables in the pan together. Add remaining herbs. Cover and leave to continue caramelizing over low-medium heat.

Once beef has been cooking for four hours, add one tbsp. powdered beef stock to vegetable mixture and stir in well.

Then, pour the beef and wine to the vegetable pot and stir together gently. Bring to a low boil on medium heat. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Taste the mixture and if not salty enough, or tastes flat, add the second tbsp.  of beef powdered stock. Also, taste for pepper and add more fresh ground pepper if needed. Allow to simmer another five minutes and taste again, adding more stock, salt, or pepper as needed.

Once seasoned perfectly, spoon into bowls and serve with fresh baguette for dipping, and open the third bottle of wine to have with the meal.

Bon appétit!