What’s Healthier: Red Wine or White Wine?


Image of two California wines.

Whenever I drink wine, I always drink white wine. I find that red wine is too ‘heavy’ and even after a small sniff of it, I can sense a massive hangover approaching. Red wine also stains my mouth (seemingly more so than anyone else’s). What I’ve always wondered is whether red wine is much more healthy than white.

Studies in the past twenty years tend to recommend that drinking red wine in moderation is good for your heart. Scientists have found that in red wine there are chemicals that prevent the formation of fatty streaks on the walls of arteries. “A  London team tested extracts from 23 red wines, four white wines, a rosé wine and one red non-alcoholic grape juice sample, after finding that certain chemicals – called polyphenols – from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes decreased the manufacture of ET-1 in bovine artery wall cells.” (See this BBC News article for more info). The white wines had no similar effect.

Red wines also contain antioxidants that come from the skin of grapes. This is because red wine grapes are in contact with their skins for much, much longer during the winemaking process than for white wine. However, the amount of antioxidants found in wine varies depending on the type of grape and where it was grown, how the wine was produced and how it was stored.

Allison Ford on the Sheerbalance website says, “Although we tend to think that red wine is what protects the body, it may actually be that red-wine drinkers are already healthier and therefore less likely to develop those chronic diseases in the first place. Studies show that regular drinkers of red wine are less likely to smoke than white-wine drinkers, and more likely to eat a Mediterranean-style diet low in saturated fats. There are a few clear-cut advantages to choosing white over red. For one, white wine tends to have fewer calories…In general, though, white wine is a better choice for people watching their weight. Another benefit is that it is far less likely to trigger headaches, especially migraines. Red wine, more than any other alcoholic beverage, is a known trigger for many migraine sufferers, and even healthy people often avoid it and its side effects, which can sometimes occur after as little as one glass.”

The Verdict? Either wine seems fine in moderation, and while the jury’s still out on whether red or white is significantly better, I’m sticking to white!

Which do you prefer?


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Good Life « A Little Tour in Yellow

  2. I drink sparkling white Chardonnay Pinot noir – have been buying this… when it it’s on offer… for a while now (full price is expensive, either Jacob’s Creek or Hardy’s) BUT I find white wine (the still kind) is more likely to give me a headache than red and have loved red wine for longer – still go back to it from time to time hence would argue that it depends on the individual as to what will give you a headache..oh and the volume you drink of course!

  3. Interesting. I go with dry white 80% of the time and when I do pick red it’s often just because I’m sharing it with people who prefer red. I do feel better with the white, both at the time I’m drinking it and the next day.

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