Since the juice of all grapes is clear, white wine can be made from white or red grapes but is made with green-skinned “white” grapes most of the time. Consumers prefer freshness and purity of fruit flavors in white wine, so grape skin contact is rarely desirable in white winemaking.
Most whites are crisp and refreshing, though levels of acidity vary with grape variety and climate. A small percentage of the world’s white wines are aged in oak barrels for a richer style. Popular grape varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris (Grigio) and Riesling. White wines are usually lighter than red wines and are therefore served with lighter courses, such as fish and shellfish.
How White Wine is Made
To make white wine is quite simple in concept. A winemaker gets some freshly harvested grapes, presses the juice out of them, ferments that juice using yeast, lets it mature and then bottles the wine. In reality, the process takes twists and turns at each stage, even though grape juice and yeast are the only necessary ingredients. Freshness is vital to make quality white wine. As soon as a crew plucks the grapes from the vines, the rush is on.Typically, harvest takes place early in the morning when the grapes are cool from the night air. In some cases, mobile lighting rigs illuminate the vines so workers can do their jobs even before sunrise.