If Pinot Noir is one of the most expensive grapes to grow, why is rosé of Pinot Noir so much cheaper?

Ask Dr Vinny

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.

Dear Vincent,

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.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Red Wines Rosé Winemaking Techniques Explained Pinot Noir

More In Dr. Vinny

Which grapes are used in the sparkling wine Blanquette de Limoux?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny, with an assist from associate editor Gillian Sciaretta, …

Mar 30, 2020

Should I sip wine with food in my mouth to appreciate a wine-and-food pairing?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that enjoying wine and food together is all …

Mar 27, 2020

In wine and grapevines, what’s the difference between a “clone” and a “selection”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny calls in vine expert Carole Meredith to explain how a …

Mar 25, 2020

Why are grapes so much more popular for making wine than other fruits?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what's so special about wine grapes.

Mar 23, 2020

What should I do with a wine I don't like?

When life gives you lemons, Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny makes sangria.

Mar 20, 2020

What does "mineral" refer to in wine tasting notes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what we mean when we talk about "minerality" in …

Mar 18, 2020