Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
At what point does a rosé become a red wine? Is there a standard for how dark a red must be?
Even though “rosé” can refer to a color of wine somewhere between white and red, it’s also accurate to think of it as a style of wine, where red wine grapes are used in a way more akin to white winemaking decisions, including picking the grapes before they are fully ripe to retain fresh acidity. Typically, red wines are made with exposure to the skins all the way through fermentation, but rosés are made with much more limited exposure.
That makes your question practically a philosophical one. There are a few rosés out there that might be darker than some light-bodied red wines. A rosé’s final color depends on several factors, including which grapes are used, and how long the juice was in contact with the grape skins.
In general, lighter rosés will be brighter and crisper than fuller-bodied, bolder, darker rosés.