Even though wine consumption in the UK has increased markedly over recent years, some recent studies have suggested that more than half of us can’t tell the difference between wines made with red and white grapes – and it’s not just the taste or the colour.

C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd, who can help if you are looking to buy Italian wine grapes – particularly the Sangiovese and Montepulciano varieties – have compiled this handy guide to some of the key points of contrast between red and white wines.

The Colour

It is not necessarily the case that green grapes produce white wine and that black (or red) grapes will result in red wine, although that is generally true. However, you can have white Merlots and Zinfandels, for example, which both come from red grapes.

The important thing is the fermentation process. This is because red wines are fermented with the skins on, whereas white wines are fermented with the skins off.

The Chemical Ingredients

Tannin is what makes wine taste dry or bitter. To be more specific, it’s a plant compound that binds to proteins and amino acids. White wines have little or no tannins. This is because tannins are found in the skin of the grapes, which is removed during the white wine-making process.

Red wines, on the contrary, have large amounts of this substance because they are kept on during the fermentation process. Some winemakers also use the seeds of the grapes, which is another significant source of tannin.

The Production Process

Red wines generally (but not exclusively) have a soft, rich, and velvety flavour. White wins on the other hand tend to be more fruity flavour, have floral aromas, and a zesty acidity.

This is achieved or preserved by using different production methods. Reds are often fermented in oak barrels because they allow the grapes to breathe and take in oxygen (the oxidation process). Winemakers typically use stainless steel tanks for whites, as these reduce the exposure to oxygen and ensure the fruitiness of the grape is retained.

The Health Benefits

Red is generally assumed to be the better bet in terms of your health. This is because it is linked to ‘good’ types of cholesterol, such as HDL, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Some studies have also suggested that it may help with diabetes and joint pain.

However, white wine contains fewer calories, which may be better if you are looking to lose a few pounds or maintain your existing weight. White is also a safer bet for people who generally suffer from migraines or headaches. This may be due to a sensitivity to the tannins found in red wine.

One thing everyone is agreed on, though, is not to drink too much wine, whether it is red or white. The current advice from the World Health Organisation is to have no more than two glasses a day.

The Food Pairings

Reds and whites both complement different types of meals or foodstuffs, for example, bringing out the flavours of a particular dish better. Broadly speaking, reds go with red meat dishes, and whites go with chicken and fish.

C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd imports Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes to the UK. For a full list of the ideal food pairings for these two types of grape, check out our previous blog post here.

Buy Italian Wine Grapes from C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd

C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd only import the highest quality Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes. As with our watermelon imports, we can deliver them to all parts of the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, London, Cardiff and South Wales. If you would like to know more either follow this link or call us directly on 0208 345 5555.