Is red wine better than white wine? Exploring the differences between the two enological worlds

Enovitae Staff 21 ottobre 2023 white, red
White vs Red


The choice between red wine and white wine is a common dilemma for wine lovers. Both offer unique sensory experiences and are appreciated for their distinctive characteristics. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between red wine and white wine, focusing on origin, production process, cellar techniques, and the gastronomic pairings that make them special.

Origins of red and white wines

Red wine

Red wine is generally produced from red grape berries, characterized by the presence of pigments in the skin called anthocyanins, which give the wine its typical red color. These grapes are fermented together with the skin to extract the pigments during fermentation, giving the wine its characteristic color and greater structure and complexity.

White wine

Unlike red wine, white wine can be produced from both white grape berries and red grape berries with clear pulp but without pigmented skin. During the winemaking process, grapes are gently pressed to separate the skin from the must, avoiding prolonged contact with the skins. This technique results in a wine with a straw-yellow or golden color, characteristic of white wines.

Production of red and white wines

Red wine

The production of red wines involves a fermentation phase with the grape skins. This process, called maceration, allows anthocyanins to be extracted from the skin, giving the wine its characteristic red color and greater structure and complexity. After fermentation, red wine is generally aged in wooden barrels or stainless steel tanks to allow the development of complexity and aromatic depth.

White wine

To produce white wine, grapes are generally gently pressed to separate the skin from the must. After pressing, the must undergoes alcoholic fermentation, often in stainless steel containers, to preserve the fresh and delicate aromas of the grapes. Unlike red wine, the white wine vinification process is longer and involves specific steps such as decanting and clarification to obtain a clear and crystalline wine.

Tannins in red wines and absence in white wines

A key element that distinguishes red wine from white wine is the presence of tannins in red wines. Tannins are polyphenolic compounds found mainly in the skin, seeds, and wood barrels used for red wine aging. During the winemaking process of red wines, tannins are extracted from the grape skin during maceration, giving the wine its characteristic structure, body, and aging potential. In contrast, in white wines, tannins are almost absent because the grape skins are generally separated from the must before fermentation, avoiding the extraction of these substances.

Cellar techniques for red and white wines

Red wine

After fermentation, red wines can undergo various cellar techniques to enhance their quality and complexity. One of the most important processes is wood aging, where the wine is placed in oak barrels for a variable period. Wood aging imparts notes of vanilla, spices, and aromatic complexity to the wine. Some red wines may also undergo a second fermentation, called malolactic fermentation, which transforms malic acid into lactic acid, making the wine smoother and silkier.

White wine

White wines, on the other hand, are generally vinified to enhance the freshness and purity of grape aromas. Some white wines may undergo a brief fermentation in wooden barrels, but in general, the use of wood is less frequent compared to red wines. The main goals in the vinification of white wines are the preservation of acidity and the fresh and floral aromas of the grapes.

Gastronomic pairings for red and white wines

Red wine

Red wines pair beautifully with a wide range of dishes, especially those based on red meat, aged cheeses, and flavorful dishes. The structure and tannins of red wines combine splendidly with the texture and intense flavors of meats such as beef, lamb, wild boar, and aged cheeses, creating a harmonious and satisfying pairing.

White wine

White wines, on the other hand, are ideal for accompanying more delicate and lighter dishes, such as fish, seafood, pasta, salads, and appetizers. The freshness and acidity of white wines perfectly balance the light flavors and delicate ingredients, creating a pleasant and refreshing pairing.

Sediment in red and white wines

Another important aspect to consider is the sediment present in red and white wines. In red wines, it is common to find sediment, mainly composed of tannins and pigments, which naturally settles at the bottom of the bottle. This sediment is not considered a defect and often contributes to the complexity and character of red wine. In contrast, sediment is generally less common in white wines, and if present, it may be considered undesirable as it could result from poor wine handling during the winemaking process.


The choice between red wine and white wine depends on personal tastes and culinary preferences. Both types of wine offer unique sensory experiences and are suitable for accompanying a wide range of dishes and social moments. Red wine, with its complex structure and bold tannins, pairs magnificently with savory dishes, while white wine, with its freshness and delicacy, blends perfectly with lighter and more delicate flavors. Regardless of the choice, both red and white wines are true oenological delights, capable of providing moments of pleasure and shared enjoyment.