Can you make red wine from white grapes?
Red wine can somewhat be made from white grapes, but the process is complicated. Red wine grapes color the wine, so wine made from white grapes won’t have a natural red color.
Read on to see how red and white wines are made and how the grapes are chosen to impact the type of wine that is produced during fermentation and filtering.
Can You Make Red Wine From White Grapes?
You can make a wine that is red, but you can’t really make red wine. Let us explain.
To make red wine from white grapes, you need to add color before bottling so the wine will be red.
This can be done by either using red grape skins or adding a coloring agent to the wine.
Can you make true red wine from white grapes? No, because white grapes don’t have the same robust flavor as red wine grapes.
The wine will have a delicate white flavor with a red color – a strange experience.
Further, the wine won’t have the same antioxidant profile as a true red wine, because the polyphenols are found in the skins of red grapes but not white grapes.
This polyphenol content is imparted to red wine and unfermented grape juice through the maceration of the red skins and allowing the skins to impart their healthy contents into the juice.
Read our related article on How to Make White Wine With Red Grapes. Believe it or not, you can actually make white wine with red grapes! We explore the process.
What Are Wine Grapes?
Wine grapes are a special variety of grapes that have thick skin, a very high sugar content, and not much juice inside.
They are very different from table grapes that are made for eating fresh.
White grapes are used to make white wine. The skin of white grapes is pale in color and the flesh is juicy and sweet.
Can you eat wine grapes? Yes, you can eat white wine grapes, and they taste like candy rather than grapes.
Red wines are made from red or black grapes. The beta carotene and other constituents in the skins give the wine its deep ruby hue.
You can use wine grapes to make grape jelly and other types of sweets that require a high sugar content.
The sugary syrup in wine grapes is what helps the wine to ferment with a concentrated fruit flavor.
How Are White and Red Wines Different?
Red wine is made from red grapes. The skins of the grapes are left on during fermentation, which is what gives red wine its color.
White wine is made from white grapes, and the skins are removed before fermentation to yield a light straw-colored wine.
If you leave the skins and seeds in the white grape juice while it ferments you’ll get orange wine – a lesser-known variety of wine that’s sour and has a nutty, oxidized flavor.
How is Red Wine Made With White Grapes?
The production of red wine typically involves the fermentation of whole grapes, including the skin, seeds, and stems.
This is what gives red wine its characteristic color.
However, it is possible to make red wine from white grapes by adding a coloring agent during the winemaking process.
Adding a coloring agent is not the only way to make red wine from white grapes.
It is also possible to allow for extended maceration, which is when the skins are left in contact with the juice for an extended period.
This can result in a rosé-style wine that has some pink tones.
True rose wine is made using limited contact with red wine grape skins, so this type of wine that’s made with white grapes also will taste different than you’d expect.
Additionally, using different yeasts can also produce wines with different colors depending on their interaction with anthocyanins – which are found in grape skins and can produce red, purple, or blue hues.
While it is technically possible to make red wine from white grapes, it is not a common practice.
This is because the vast majority of wines made from white grapes are intended to be consumed young and fresh.
Red wines, on the other hand, often benefit from aging and can develop more complex flavor profiles over time.
As a result, most winemakers prefer to use red grapes when making red wine.
How To Make Red Wine From White Grapes
Have you ever wondered how winemakers create red wine from white grapes? The process is quite simple and can be done at home with the right tools and ingredients.
Here’s what you need to know about making red wine from white grapes.
- The first step is to crush the white grapes. This can be done by hand or with a machine, depending on your preference and the number of grapes you’re working with.
- Once the grapes are crushed, it’s time to add them to a fermentation vessel along with some water and yeast. Leave the skins and seeds in the mixture.
- The next step is to let the mixture sit for a few days so that the yeast can do its job and ferment the grape juice into alcohol.
- After a few days, you’ll notice that the liquid has turned orange or pink color. This is because of the skins of the grapes, which contain pigments that are released during fermentation.
- If you want the wine to be a deeper red color you’ll have to add red wine grape skins to your mixture before fermentation or add a red colorant before bottling.
- Once the fermentation process is complete, you can bottle your homemade red wine and enjoy it with friends and family.
Most home winemakers use kits to make their favorite vino which contains a macerated grape concentrate in a bag.
However, if you have a backyard wine grapevine, you might like to experiment with creating unique wines on your own!
Disadvantages of Making Red Wine With White Grapes
There are distinct disadvantages to using wine grapes for unintended purposes.
However, if you’re experimenting with flavors and recipes, it is still a fun project to try.
- The main disadvantage is that it can be more difficult to produce high-quality wine using this method. The skin contact time is shorter, so the wines can sometimes lack color and body.
- In addition, white grapes tend to have less tannin than red grapes, so the wines can taste less complex and structured.
- Finally, depending on the grape variety, white wines made in this way can sometimes have an earthy or mushroomy flavor that some people find off-putting.
Overall, while it is possible to make red wine from white grapes, it is not considered to be of the same quality as wine made from red grapes.
There is a flavor and aroma that you expect when you taste a bottle of red wine.
A bottle of red made from white grapes will not give this expected experience and that alone puts many people off of it.
If you’re looking to produce high-quality wine, it’s best to stick with using red grapes.
Considering how long it takes to taste the fruit of your winemaking labor, we suggest sticking with the tried-and-true methods!
If you attempt to leave the seeds and skin in your white wine maceration during fermentation you’ll likely see orange wine as a result.
What is orange wine? Check it out in this video.
The Bottom Line
So, can you make red wine from white grapes? Our conclusion is honestly no.
Yes, you can make a red-colored wine from white grapes, but you can’t make a truly delicious red wine experience with white grapes.
If you want to make something different with white wine grapes, we suggest that you foray into the world of orange wine.
This is a truly unique wine that’s made with white grapes – an adventure worth having!