Unpolished Grape 101: 3 Ways to Make Rosé!

Have you ever wondered how Rosé wine is made? There are several ways, but one constant is always true: it requires black grapes. Let’s explore!

Direct Press

Direct press is a delicate technique in which black grapes are pressed ever so slightly to retrieve the juice from the pulp. That juice is then fermented into wine. In this way, the juice has very little, to no contact with its skins, causing very little red coloring to dye the wine pink. The end result is a clear, or lightly pigmented rosé wine. In addition, grape skins contain additional flavor compounds, tannin and complexity. Direct press limits the amount of additional flavor entering the wine. Direct press rosés are common in the South of France and its Langudoc region.

Short Maceration

Short Maceration is a technique in which black grapes are crushed and the clear juice is allowed to soak (macerate) with its skins for several hours. The end result is a pink rosé wine. Because the clear juice soaks on its dark skins for a specified period of time, the red color from the skins cause the grapes to turn pinker by the hour. Once the skins are removed, the pink juice is then fermented into wine. Short maceration adds additional flavor complexities and tannin into the wine from the black skins.


In some cases, red and white wine are mixed together to create a pink rosé blend. In this way, a small amount of red wine is added to a white base wine, thereby making the wine pink with added flavor complexities. This technique is less common, and even outlawed in European wine-making regions.


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