Definition - What does Color mean?

The color of a wine can indicate many things about the wine including the varietal used to produce it and its age. Sometimes, color can also indicate the level of winemaking used to craft a wine.

  • White wines range in color from pale yellow with tints of green and even amber brown
  • Rosé wines can range from pale pink to melon hues or deep pink rose petals
  • Red wine hues start at fresh red berry shades, can be burgundy or deep red to brick red and terracotta. Some ports can be produced with a purplish raspberry shade.

While brownish colors may indicate a wine that has been oxidized, that may not always be the case.

WineFrog explains Color

When analyzing a wine for its color, not only is it important to note its description but also how bright the color is. A dull wine is not a healthy wine whereas a wine which bounces light from its surface is.

When further analyzing a wine's color, one can determine its age based on its hue. White wines gain color as they age by the process of oxidation. Young white wine starts at pale to true yellow color and deepens into golden hues and amber, eventually turning brown.

Red wines turn pale with age. Young red wine begins at fresh berry colors, then take on truer red tones like brick red, then terracotta and also eventually turning brown.

Also, by looking at a wine's color, one can estimate what grapes were used to make the wine. Pale yellow-green wines are often made of Sauvignon blanc or a light-bodied white wine variety. Bright yellow can be from Riesling, Pinot blanc or Pinot Gris. Golden yellow tones are wines made from Chardonnay or Viognier. Violet, inky wines can be those wines made from Malbec, Petit Sirah or Verdot. Deep berry juice color and burgundy are often produced from the use of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

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