The Real Difference Between Red And White Wine

If you're like most wine drinkers, you probably haven't stopped to consider the difference between red and white wine beyond that you might like one more than the other. But, there are actually quite a few differences between red wine and white wine that may surprise you. For starters, white wine can be made with white grapes or red grapes, and red wine is made with red or black grapes. But red wine also integrates the grape skins into the wine, which provides the color, while white wine only uses the grape's juice (via Dummies).

Not only are white and red wines stored differently, and paired with foods differently, but they're even aged differently. Red wine is aged inside oak barrels, while white wine is often placed in cast iron vessels to mature. Because the barrels are porous, the red wine is exposed to oxygen, which helps to smooth out the wine's acidity (via Usual Wines). 

Is red wine healthier than white wine?

How much different is red wine from white wine health-wise? While red wine has been associated with better nutrition, Piedmont Healthcare says that the nutritional differences between red wine and white wine are pretty minimal, pointing to very similar calories and alcohol content. However, red wine is generally deemed healthier due to the antioxidants it contains, which are present thanks to the skins that remain during fermentation, according to Courtney Kalamar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Piedmont Henry Hospital. 

Kalamar told Piedmont Healthcare, "In terms of benefits, red wine has been shown to promote heart health, improve HDL cholesterol levels, decrease LDL cholesterol levels, and reduce risk for blood clots." While it's important to keep in mind that drinking too much alcohol can have devastating consequences for your overall health, according to Kalamar, consuming red wine in moderation has also been shown to help decrease the occurrence of gallstones, improve cognitive function, and decrease some cancers. We'll toast to that!