Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Making rosé and red wines

Published:Thursday | April 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Marilyn W. Bennett, Contrubutor

Although I have been writing these articles for only a short time, one special benefit has been the reconnection with friends from all over the world who have sent amusing, interesting and even feisty comments and questions - one didn't know that I had become a 'wine bibber' while others declared no surprise that I have taken this 'wine thing' seriously. Of grave concern was that I had become a recruit for non-alcoholic wines and I was asked pointedly if this is what I am now drinking or recommending. It is quite easy to state that I definitely prefer alcoholic drinks, especially wine.

The story of wine is so enthralling that it is sometimes difficult to know just what to share. I sometimes feel that those persons who attend my wine sessions are perhaps wondering just when she is going to stop! I am truly gratified that oftentimes they seem totally engrossed, but maybe what I consider rapt attention is really a display of exceptional patience in waiting for the class reward - sampling the wines - what else?

It will not be possible to write in the same way that a wine class would be conducted as from time to time we will write about matters of interest relating to wine; however, it is hoped that you will find each article interesting and informative. Of course, I will make a note of your suggestions for future articles. Before Lent, we spoke about how white wine was made. Today, we will look at rosé and red wines.

How rosé and red wines are made:

As I am sure you know, the grapes used to make red wine are really black grapes. However, throughout the wine world they are referred to as red grapes. In the same way, the grapes used to make white wine are really green grapes.

Since we already know that red wine gets its colour from the pigmentation within the skins of the red grapes, the basic process for making rosé and red wines is as follows:

Making rosé wine:

In order to achieve the required tinge of colour, the juice remains in contact with the red grape skins just long enough for some colour to be extracted. Due to the short time, very little tannin is transferred to the wine. Inexpensive rosé wines are made by blending a little red wine or fermenting juice with white wine.

The rosé wines are then vinified in much the same way as white wines.

Making red wine:

There are many styles of red wine that can be made; however, the process starts with the juice remaining in contact with the skins to extract the colour. Making red wines, particularly in the economy and standard categories, usually involves the following:

The crushed red grapes are fermented with their skins. Some winemakers leave the grapes to macerate for a period at a low temperature before starting the fermentation.

The temperature for fermentation of red wine is higher than for white wine.

The skins (sometimes the stems may be included) add colour, tannin, flavour and other complexities to the wine.

The grapes are pressed to separate the juice from the skins.

Depending on the style of red wine to be made, the young wine is matured in wood or stainless steel.

The winemaker's vision, art, skills and meticulous control determine the red wine that is finally bottled, labeled and sold for our enjoyment.


Can you identify the red and white grapes from the short list below?

❑ Pinot Gris

❑ Pinot Noir

❑ Pinot Meunier

❑ Pinot Grigio

Sip of the day:

Wine glass savvy: When setting a table, place stemware to the right. Closest to the diner and above the knife is the water glass then red wine and the white wine glass.

Wine quote:

"I don't drink anymore - just the same amount."

Joe E. Lewis

(Excerpt from Vintage humour for wine lovers by Malcolm Kushner)

Marilyn W. Bennett is a wine enthusiast. She has participated in wine courses at the Culinary Institute of America Rudd Centre for Wines Studies in St Helena, California, and is an Advanced Level student of the UK-based WSET (Wines and Spirits Education Trust) programme. Send your comments or questions to