Wine Tasting - Wine Colour

In wine tasting, the color of the wine helps the expert to determine the distinctive characteristics of a wine. The wine color is derived from the grapes and it varies from wine to wine.

It is actually the skins of the grapes used in making a wine that determines its color as the juices of grapes are clear and colorless. The method of fermentation used also brings about changes in wine color. This can be regulated by varying the time the skins of grapes are left in contact with the juice.

Sometimes different types of grapes are mixed to make a wine. This again creates different colored wines. Wine tasting experts are able to identify the fermentation and production methods and even the quality of a wine merely by looking at its color.

There are three basic wine colors---white, rose and red which again have a number of variants.

  • White wines: White wines are not really white. They are more yellowish in color. These wines are generally obtained by removing the skins of the grapes before fermentation. White wines can be of the following colors.
    • Yellow Green. This is the color of the very young white wines that will change with maturity.
    • Straw Yellow. A slightly more mature white wine shows a straw color.
    • Gold. The best white wines that are in their prime are pale gold in color.
    • Yellow Brown. This occurs normally with age but some wines take on the barrel color to attain this hue.
    • Amber Green. Old dessert wines and wines made from dry grapes could get this color but this could also be a sign of oxidation.
    • Brown. Although wine from very old dry grapes could be of this color, this is generally an indication of heavy oxidation and ill health in a wine.


  • Rose or Blush wines: The colors of these wines range between pink and orange.
    • Lavender is the color of the immature blush wines. 
    • Salmon. This is the color of young blush wines made from dark grapes where there is almost no contact with the skins. 
    • Strawberry. Slightly more mature wines which were fermented with a little more skin contact take on this color. 
    • Rose.  This is the color of a classic blush wine that is at the peak of its maturity.  
    • Orange. Blush wines that have turned orange are normally oxidized wines unfit for consumption. 
  • Red wines: Red wines as their names suggest are red in color. But the range varies from Ruby red to dark purple with those past their prime showing hints of yellow or brown.
    • Purple Red is the color that all very youthful red wines display. 
    • Ruby Red.  This is the color of the slightly more developed red wines. 
    • Garnet Red. Fully mature red wines with classic flavors are Garnet Red in color. 
    • Red Brown. Healthy wines that are beyond their prime get this color. 
    • Mahogany. Very mature wines that are on the brink of going over the hill usually turn Mahogany with tinges of orange at the edges.
  • Brown.  As with white wines, red wines that turn brown are also considered to be unhealthy and oxidized.

These wine colors are great indicators that enable a wine taster to distinguish between the healthy and unhealthy wines and also to determine the vintage of a wine during wine tasting

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