Rosé winemaking

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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rosé winemaking, production of wines whose colour falls somewhere in the spectrum between red and white.

Historically, rosé wines have been made by a number of different processes, but today two methods are in general use: direct pressing or short maceration. The preferred technique is a short maceration of the juice with the skins (see skin contact) of dark-coloured grapes just after crushing, in the press or in a tank, for a period long enough to extract the required amount of colour or anthocyanins. The juice is then separated from the skins by draining or pressing, and fermentation proceeds as in white winemaking. With the red-skinned grenache grape, traditionally much used for rosés partly because of its relative lack of anthocyanins, a maceration of eight to 12 hours is usually sufficient. Highly pigmented grape varieties may need much less contact time, while very lightly coloured grapes may need a day or two’s maceration. See also saignée.