Naturally you would imagine that white wine is white because of the white grapes and red wine is red because of the red grapes. Ok, so that’s true to some extent but, there is a lot more to this grape equation. You can make white wine from red grapes but you can't make red wine from white grapes. That’s because the juice within red grapes (with exception of a few red grape varieties) are actually clear. The color pigments and compounds of wine grapes are located in the skin not the juice.
So how do we get the color from the skin to the juice?
Crushing red grapes, results in the must (from the Latin vinum mustum, “young wine”) which is the crushed grape berry, seed, skin, juice and pulp. The color compounds from the skins will be infused into the grape juice. Depending on how long the crushed juice is kept in contact with the skins, will determine the color grade of the red wine.
Even after this process, the color of the red wine can change again if the wine is aged in wood barrels. This can lead to the wine having a deeper darker red to tawny brownish color. Color derived from barrel aging can be clearly seen with white wine. Compare the same white wine that has spent no time in a barrel versus that wine aged for several months in an oak barrel. The aged wine carries a yellow more golden straw color derived from the wood.
Now, when it comes to Rosé, you can easily obtain the pink color in two ways. The most common way is crushing your red grapes, and leaving the must for a few hours so that the color from the skins can change the clear juice to pink. Or by simply creating a blend of white and red wine.
So there you have it. There is more to wine color than just the juice.
The Winey Blog
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