What Do Wine Colors Indicate?

What Do Wine Colors Indicate?

What Do Wine Colors Indicate?

Wines are available in a wide range of colors and intensities. Did you know that merely glancing at a bottle of wine can teach you a lot about it? You’ll discover how to interpret the color of the wine you’re sipping in this article. We’ll start with several samples before explaining why wines are colored the way they are.

We may discuss the reasons for some of those questions and conclusions now that you know what a certain hue in your glass could imply.

Pigment Concentration is a term used to describe the amount of pigment that is present in
The strength of color in your glass, rather than the color itself, is referred to as pigment concentration.

For example, two wines may both be purple, but one could be significantly darker than the other. The following elements have the most impact on pigment concentration:

Skin Thickness vs. Grape Variety:

The grape type used to manufacture the wine is the most visible component contributing to pigmentation concentration. Cabernet has a thicker skin than Pinot Noir, for example. Cabernet is darker than Pinot Noir because the pigments that color the wine red come from the skin.

It’s acceptable to presume that a wine with a dark hue is manufactured from a thick-skinned, dark grape variety while looking at it.


As grapes mature, their sugar content rises, their perceived acidity falls, and their color darkens.

They begin the growing season as green and gradually change to their ultimate hue. More pigment is concentrated in the skin as the ripening process continues, resulting in darker wine. While grapes may ripen in a variety of settings, warmer temperatures allow for faster ripening and longer ripening periods.

Extracting Pigments

Winemakers must remove the color from the grape skins and infuse it into the wine in order to create a wine with a rich hue. Color is extracted using a variety of techniques:

Before, during, and occasionally after fermentation, the skins are soaked in grape juice. Almost all red wines undergo this treatment. The resultant wine is dubbed “orange” wine because it has an orange-y amber hue from the longer maceration of the skins on white grapes.

Orange wines are difficult to come by, but if you do, they’re worth a try. Before removing the skins from the vat, most rosé wines are prepared by restricting the maceration of the skins to get the desired pink hue.

Pumping Up, Punching Down, and Other Activities: When the skins are in the fermentation vat, they tend to float to the top and dry out, similar to how coffee grounds float in water. Winemakers mix the skins with the liquid to check that the skins are giving taste and color.

Pumping liquid from the tank’s bottom to the top, soaking the floating skins, is one approach to do this.

Another way to mix the skins into the liquid is to punch them down from the top. The wine will be more darkly colored if the winery is more vigorous in mixing the skins with the liquid during fermentation.

It’s worth mentioning that the use of coloring compounds that mimic food coloring results in certain wines having a rich hue.

Oenocyanin and Mega Purple are the two most frequent. Oenocyanin is mostly composed of colored tannins and is formed from the remnants of wine fermentation.

Mega Purple is a patented grape juice concentrate that adds color and taste to wine without adding tannin.

Developing Color

Wines get lighter as they mature. The color of white wines darkens over time. Both white and red wines eventually mature to a medium amber hue after many years of maturing. It might be difficult to identify whether a wine was originally red or white when it is really old.

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If you’re talking about wines, what exactly does ‘extract’ mean?

It is composed of all of the complex components that give the wine its flavor, which is referred to as “extract.” Wine is mostly composed of water, with around 13 percent of its total weight consisting of alcohol. Afterward, there are the real flavorants that are derived from the grapes themselves.

A light-bodied, thin-ish wine with roughly 18 grams of extract per liter would be expected to be found. The presence of more than 22g/l of sugar in a white wine would make it a substantial, full-bodied beverage.

When it comes to full-bodied, hefty red wines, up to 30g/l of the extract is not uncommon. It is possible to think of the extract as a measure of the concentration of flavor in a particular wine or spirit.