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,
If Pinot Noir is one of the most expensive grapes to grow, why is rosé of Pinot Noir so cheap?
—Vincent, Mt. Arlington, N.J.
You’re right that Pinot Noir grapes have a reputation for being difficult, mostly because of their thin skins, which make them susceptible to sunburn, temperature fluctuation and things like rot and mildew.
One really clever way to make rosé is called the saignée method, which is a term that means “to bleed.” When you “bleed off,” or remove some of the juice from a tank of red grape juice that’s just beginning to ferment, you’re allowing the remaining juice to become more concentrated by increasing the ratio of skins and pulp to juice. And that extra juice that was "bled off" can be turned into rosé. So it’s a win-win: two wines from the same harvest, with the rosé as a "bonus." A rosé also doesn't typically go through the labor-intensive processes of maceration, punch-downs, pump-overs, racking, barrel aging, etc., all of which add to the expense of red wines.