Fundamentally speaking, red wines are made with red grapes (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.) and white wines are made with white grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot 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 What’s interesting, though, is that nearly all wines we find in the marketplace were originally made from one species of grape called Vitis vinifera.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 share the same DNA!
After the grapes are picked and head to the cellar for winemaking, different processes are used to make red wine. One of the most important things is that red wines are fermented with grape skins and seeds. This is because all the color in red wine comes from the skins and seeds of the grapes. Red wines are loved for their soft, rich, and velvety flavors. 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 barrels, Red Wines are typically aged in oak barrels because they breathe and allow the wine to ingress oxygen. To reduce the exposure to oxygen, winemakers use stainless steel tanks, which ensure that wines retain their fruitiness and flower flavors.