Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Whiskey, beer, and vodka are all popular drinks, but there’s a controversial debate between brandy vs wine that many drinkers talk about. Most people claim that wines and brandy are cousins, but do alcoholic drinks have a genealogy? How are they similar but different at the same time?
Our team scoured every possible resource to set the record straight.
Wine & Brandy Compared
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting fruits like grapes so that you can consider it a fruit juice but with alcohol content. On the other hand, brandy is made from distilled wine or fermented fruit, just like cognac. The term brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, which means burned wine .
How Are They Different?
Wine and brandy’s first difference is their main ingredient because wine is made from grapes while brandy is made from wine. Different grape-based wines depend on the geographical location, but fermented grapes make a bottle of wine. On the other hand, brandy is distilled from wine, but it can be made from other fruits.
Brandy has higher alcohol content than wine and fermented fruit because of distilling wine. Like whiskey, brandy contains 35-60% ABV, while wine contains only 9-12% alcohol. The term brandy refers to fermented grape-based brandy, and brandy is a distilled wine, just like cognac.
Distilled spirits tend to have higher alcohol by volume because it separates alcohol from distilled water using a distillation process that involves evaporation and condensation .
Uses & Applications
Wine goes well within a meal and for leisure purposes, while brandy is best to enjoy as an after-dinner drink and leisure purposes. Drinking red wine, grape-based wine, white wine, and champagne within meals aids digestion. In that way, you won’t be hungry and less likely to eat or drink more.
Like whiskey, vodka, beer, and cognac, drinking brandy on an empty stomach can make you drunk easier or lead to alcohol intoxication. The body will absorb the liquor faster, and since it has a high content of alcohol, it will not have a chance to break it down.
The production process of wine is different from brandy because it entails different stages such as harvesting, pressing, fermentation, clarification, aging, and bottling. Wine grapes are harvested in a tightly controlled manner to ensure the quality of fruits.
On the other hand, brandy’s production process starts with the distillation of base wine to produce a low wine with 28-30% ABV. After the first stage of pot still distilled, it will then undergo second stage distillation, where it will produce an unaged brandy.
You see, the production process of brandy is like the continuation of the production process of wine, so they are different from each other.
Taste & Color
The taste and color of brandy and wine are different because brandy has hues that range from greenish to straw yellow and golden. It has a light color due to its distillation and maturation from oak barrels.
On the other hand, wine has an intensity of color that indicates the age and flavor of the wine. This alcoholic beverage has a color that ranges from deep purple to light salmon and somehow looks like grape juice.
The difference between wine and brandy is also noticeable in its taste and aromas and is dependent on the main fruits it uses. Brandy tastes like anise and is warm, while wine tastes like fruit juices (sparkling wine and white wine) and fermented fruit.
Based on research, drinking red wine has health benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, drinking fruit brandy boosts the immune system because of its warming nature. Red wine contains antioxidants that are helpful for the heart, and considering its alcohol by volume, it is safe for your body to consume.
However, while brandy has its own health benefits, it may pose greater damage and health risks when consuming hard liquor. But is brandy really good for you?
When To Drink Them
Wine is best to drink while eating, while brandy is best to enjoy after meals, just like whiskey. Due to its alcohol content, brandy is not advisable to drink before or during the meal because you can be drunk easily.
On the contrary, wine, specifically red wine, is best to enjoy while having dinner and eating meats to help digestion. But why does wine make you sleepy?
France, Spain, Italy, and the U.S.A are the top geographical regions where wine is produced. Fermenting grapes in these locations is common because the regions have a massive supply of grape varieties.
Unlike wine, brandy has its geographical regions in France and Canada. Outstanding wine, cognac, and typical brandies are found in France, specifically in the Gers region. The European Union enforces strict regulations in producing wine, brandy, and cognacs.
Wine and brandy are aged in wooden containers. However, wine is matured for two to three years, while brandy has maturation that lasts roughly five to twenty years or more. The aging process is critical for these alcoholic drinks because it gives the liquor flavor, aromas, and color.
Compared to wine, brandy is more expensive because most brandy has a base wine that will undergo distillation and maturity for additional years. Moreover, an alcoholic beverage can be expensive depending on its rarity, maturity, and base ingredients.
A 750 ml of any type of wine can cost around $20. But a 750 ml of brandy is roughly at $30 depending on its brand and age statement.
Which liquor is more preferred by women, wine or brandy?
Women prefer wine compared to brandy. Based on Statista 2022, 43.2% of females prefer drinking wine, while 41.2% of females prefer drinking brandy, champagne, whiskey, and vodka.
Women prefer this drink over brandy because of its alcohol concentration, distinct aroma, and taste. But how much wine can get you drunk?
Is wine more popular than brandy?
Yes, wine is more popular than brandy, although it is widely consumed in different parts of the world. In fact, its popularity increased by over 10% year on year, even under the global pandemic (COVID-19), and has increased by over 5% on sales. But do Americans consume more wine or beer?
Brandy and wine are related because wine is used to make brandy, but that does not mean brandy is considered a wine or vice versa. The two liquors’ base ingredients, distillation, aging period, ABV value, and fermentation process, are different.
Isn’t it amazing that these two popular spirits are somehow related to each other? We hope our comprehensive details about brandy vs wine are helpful and fun to read.