How one red grape can make red, rose, and white wine
Pinot Noir is often celebrated for its deliciousness, but it’s also one of the most versatile grape varieties globally. You can make red wine from a single grape variety, as well as white, rose and sparkling wines. This is amazing! It all boils down to the winemaking processes and production processes that decide the fate of this tiny grape.
Pinot Noir White
You would see that the Pinot Noir grape’s flesh (the pulpy portion) is pale greenish-yellow. The skins of the grapes are what give the juice its beautiful red colour. If you want to make white wine from red grapes, the skins must be removed immediately. This is how white Pinot Noir (“Vin Gris”) works.
Winemakers must work fast because the juice quickly turns red from the grape skins. They will often choose to harvest grapes on a cool morning to get them to the cellar. A special pneumatic wine press is used to make white Pinot Noir. This press is designed for white wine production. It crushes grapes but filters out the seeds and skins. The juice is usually a beautiful, deep gold colour.
How white wine is made
You will see how white wine can be made differently from red wine.
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Red Pinot Noir
Red Pinot Noir is a red winemaking method.
Grapes are taken from the vine and placed in grape crushers. The entire contents of the crusher go into a tank. Pinot Noir is a very thin-skinned grape variety. It spends a lot of time on its skins before and after winemaking to absorb as much red pigment as possible. These two processes include cold-soaking (before fermentation) and extended maceration. Some winemakers will add Pinot Noir stems to the fermentation to increase colour extraction. This adds some bitterness but gives you more colour and age-worthiness. The wine will have a medium to dark ruby red colour after the whole process.
How red wine is made
You will be able to see how red wine differs from white wine.
Rose Pinot Noir
It is all about timing when making a rose. The wine will be darker if the skins remain in the juice for longer.
This process is like making a white and red wine blend for Pinot Noir. After the grapes are crushed, they are added to a tank and their skins and seeds. The winemaker then monitors the juice and takes samples every hour to verify the colour extraction. Once satisfied with the colour, the winemaker strains it from the skins and places it in clean tanks for fermentation. According to winemakers from Oregon and California, rose wines can be made less than seven hours.
How rose wine is made
Learn more about rose winemaking techniques.
Sparkling Pinot Noir aka Blanc de Noirs
Make a white Pinot Noir wine and then ferment it to make blanc noirs.
This is Champagne’s specialty, including Jay-Z, Armand de Brignac’s brand. The “tete de cuvee” bottling is 100% Pinot Noir in a Blanc de Noirs format. Sparkling wine is made from a wine that has been specially prepared (using grapes with a higher acidity). The wine is then fermented again in bottles to ensure carbon dioxide doesn’t escape. Finally, the bottle is pressurized, which carbonates the wine. There are many Blanc de Noirs available all over the globe, and almost always, Pinot Noir is used. The other variant of Pinot Meunier is also available.
How sparkling wine is made
Learn more about the various methods of making sparkling wine.
Other Versatile Red Grapes
You may be curious about what wines are possible in each of these styles. It turns out that some of the most prized red grapes for making sparkling, white, red and rose wines have thin skins. The reason is that the skins have less pigment, which makes it easier to dye the wine. These grapes have thin skins and can be made in each of the four styles.