Types of Wine Color (The Wine Color Chart)

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By: Tom Valenti


Wine color is one of the most important characteristics of a bottle of wine, and it can provide consumers with a wealth of information about the taste, aroma, age, and serving of the wine.

So, do you know how many wine colors are there? There are two main types of wine colors: Red wine, White wine. To better understand each specific color of wine, please follow the following article.


Where Does Wine Color Come From? 

Where Does Wine Color

The color of wine comes primarily from pigments found in the skin of the grapes used to make the wine. The two main types of grape pigments that contribute to wine color are anthocyanins and tannins. Anthocyanins are responsible for the red, purple, and blue colors in red wines, while tannins are responsible for the astringent, mouth-drying sensation often associated with red wine.

During the winemaking process, the grapes are crushed and the juice is allowed to ferment with the skins. This allows the anthocyanins and tannins to be extracted from the skins and into the wine. The length of time that the skins are in contact with the juice, as well as the temperature and acidity of the fermentation process, can also affect the color and flavor of the resulting wine.

It is worth noting that white wines can also have some color, which comes from a small amount of pigmentation in the skin and/or from contact with oak barrels. However, most white wines are made from grapes with little or no color in their skin, so they are generally lighter than red wines.

Wine Colors and The Processes Behind Them

Wine Colors and The Processes Behind Them

Besides the natural and environmental factors that affect the color of the wine, the production process also contributes to the color of the wine.

  • Maceration: This process involves leaving grape skins in contact with the juice during fermentation, which allows the pigments in the skins to be extracted into the wine. 
  • Aging in oak barrels: Wine that is aged in oak barrels can undergo chemical reactions that can affect its color. Oak barrels can impart tannins and other compounds that can react with the pigments in the wine, causing the color to deepen and become more golden.
  • Aging in the bottle: Wine that is aged in the bottle can also undergo changes in color. Over time, the pigments in the wine can oxidize and break down, which can cause the color to become darker and more orange or brown.
  • Blending: Winemakers can blend different wines together to create a desired color profile. For example, they may blend a darker red wine with a lighter red wine to create a medium red wine with a specific hue and intensity.
  • Filtering: Some winemakers choose to filter their wines to remove sediment and other particles, which can affect the wine’s color. Filtering can remove some of the pigments in the wine, resulting in a lighter color.

What is The Different Color Wine?

There is no universally accepted wine color chart, but here is a general guide to the colors of different types of wine:

Red Wine Colors

  • Light Red Wines: Light red wines are typically those with a lighter body, lower tannins, and a lighter color intensity. They are often characterized by their bright acidity and fruity aromas and are generally best served slightly chilled. 
  • Medium Red Wines: Medium red wines are those that fall in between light-bodied and full-bodied red wines. They typically have a moderate level of tannins, acidity, and alcohol, and can have a wide range of flavor profiles depending on the grape variety and winemaking techniques used. 
  • Deep Red Wines: Deep red wines are full-bodied wines that have a rich, bold flavor profile and high levels of tannins and alcohol. They are typically made from grapes that have thicker skins and are often aged in oak barrels to add complexity and depth to the wine. 
  • Young Red Wines: Young red wines are wines that have not been aged for very long and are intended to be consumed relatively soon after bottling. They are typically light to medium-bodied and have a fresh, fruity flavor profile.
  • Old Red Wines: Old red wines are wines that have been aged for an extended period, often several years or even decades. Old red wines are typically full-bodied and have a rich, complex flavor profile with a smooth, velvety texture.

White Wine Colors

  • Light White Wines: Light white wines are wines that are typically lower in alcohol and have a lighter body and flavor profile. They are often crisp, refreshing, and easy to drink, and they pair well with a variety of foods.
  • Medium White Wines: Medium white wines are wines that are slightly richer and more complex than light white wines, but still retain a refreshing quality. They are often medium-bodied with a slightly fuller flavor profile.
  • Deep White Wines: Deep white wines are full-bodied wines with a rich, complex flavor profile. They are often aged in oak barrels, which gives them a distinctive flavor and texture.
  • Young White Wines: White wines differ slightly from red wines in that a young wine will be transparent and vibrant.
  • Old White Wines: Old white wines are wines that have been aged for a significant amount of time, usually several years or more. During this time, the wine undergoes a transformation in flavor, aroma, and color, becoming more complex and nuanced.

Wine Color Chart

The Wine Color Chart, Types of Wine Color
The Wine Color Chart, Types of Wine Color

FAQs About Wine Color

Is It Possible to Change the Color of The Wine Without Changing the Taste?

It is possible to change the color of wine without changing the taste, although this can depend on the specific methods used to change the color.

For example, blending different wines together to create a desired color profile can often be done without significantly altering the taste of the wine. Other methods of changing the color of wine, such as adding artificial coloring agents or using heavy oak aging.

What Type of Wine Remains Pale in Color?

Several types of wines are typically pale in color, including white and rosé wines. Here are some examples: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Provence Rosé, White Zinfandel…


In conclusion, the color of wine can vary greatly depending on type and age. Light red wines are typically lighter in body and color than full-bodied reds, while white and rosé wines tend to remain pale in color. Different techniques, such as blending different types of wine or adding artificial coloring agents, can be used to change the color of wines.

Ultimately, it is important for wine drinkers to understand the differences between different types of wines and how their color can affect their flavor profile. Knowing these differences can help wine drinkers to choose the perfect bottle for any occasion.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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