ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

A professional in the wine industry told me that traditionally "pink" wines were made by mixing red and white wines to make "blush" wines. He suggests that "rosé" refers to a process involving short-term contact with red grape skins. Yet I read that "rosé" is the traditional word and process. Is there any validity in his view?

—Angela, Alexandria, Va.

Dear Angela,

The terms "pink," "blush" and "rosé" all describe wines that are neither red nor white, but something in between. But "rosé" doesn't refer to a process. Rosés can sometimes be made by blending red and white wine together, but most are dry wines made from red wine grapes, with limited exposure to the skins so the color stays pale. The term "blush" used to refer specifically to wines made from red wine grapes that only get a "blush" of color, but somewhere along the line it started referring to rosés that were on the slightly sweet side. These days, all three terms are used more or less interchangeably, but let me clue you in—"rosé" is in, and "blush" is passé.

—Dr. Vinny


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