The Three Methods of Rosé Production

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Photo: Wahkeena Photos

White wines are produced by pressing the juice directly off the grape skins following the crush and then fermenting the free run juice. Red wine is produced by an extended period of contact between the grape juice and skins called maceration prior to and during fermentation extracting color during the process. These processes are fairly straightforward, but how Rosé wine gets its color is achieved by a few different methods.

Drawing-off (saigneé): One method the color of rosé is achieved is my allowing whole clusters of grapes to sit in a fermentation vessel. The weight of the grapes on top will crush the grapes on the bottom and this juice will remain in contact with the remaining clusters and skins in the vessel for up to 48 hours. After this time has transpired the “free run” juice is bled off as pale red juice, which is then fermented at cold temperatures between 59-68 degrees F.

Direct Pressing: This is a second method that is used to produce rosé wines. The method is exactly as the name implies, involving the direct pressing of freshly harvested black (red) grapes. The result is a juice that is very pale-red. The juice is then fermented in a similar manner to the wine produced using the saigneé method.

Blending: The final method requires small portions of red and white wine to be blended to retain the pink color. This is often done in the production of rosé champagnes and sparkling wines although it is important to note that it is illegal in Europe to produce still rosé’s by this method.

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