One subject that gets asked about a lot by beginners is how to make white wines. They usually ask about it in a way that leads me to believe that they think it is a completely different process than making red wines, one that just skirts the fringes of main-steam wine making.
The fact of the matter is, there are more similarities than differences between making the two. You use the same wine making materials, the same grape crushers, the same grape presses. Where the primary difference lies is the grape. You make white wines from white grapes; you make red wines from red grapes.
A second, more minor, difference is how the primary fermentation is done. The primary fermentation is the first 5 to 7 days of highly active fermentation. When making a red wine, the fermentation is allowed to progress with the grape’s crushed pulp still in the juice (must). This is done to extract color and body from the grape skins. It’s what makes a Red, a Red. After the primary fermentation has completed the pulp is then pressed for the juice and discarded.
When making a white wine the primary fermentation is done without the pulp in with the juice (must). The grapes are both crushed and pressed before hand. It is only the grape juice that makes it to the fermenter.
When the issue becomes using our wine ingredient kits to make a white wine, it gets even less complicated. While the color of the wine is still dependant on the grape used, there is no difference in the way in which either type of juice is fermented.
In the case of red wines all the color and body needed has already been extracted from the pulp. The producer then runs it through their grape presses, so the juice comes to you pulp free. As you might expect for white wine ingredient kits, the juice has no pulp either.
The directions that come with either wine ingredient kit is identical. So no matter if you want to make a red wine or a white wine, there is no additional considerations either way. Just follow the directions.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.