HomeProducts & ServicesResourcesNews & EventsBlogAbout DanielSitemap
Techniques in Home Winemaking

Need help find something?

My Books
Troubleshooting Your Wine
Wine Yeasts
Selected Bibliography




Color is too light


Color should always be typical for the type or style of wine being made. For example, a lightly colored, oak-aged Cabernet Sauvignon would certainly be atypical.




Excessive fining and/or filtration
An almost-colorless white wine is the result of excessive clarification.

The recommended corrective action is to blend wines, if possible, until you get the desired color for your style of wine,

As wine continues to age, browning in bottled wine happens naturally, albeit very slowly, and manifests itself as a deeper color in whites (think of an old Sauternes). In the types of wines where some browning is expected, it is perfectly acceptable although you should not let the wine age too long after this as it will start losing freshness, fruit and subtle aromas, and it will start deteriorating.

Back to Top or Back to Troubleshooting Page


Poor color in reds
Lightly colored red wine can be the result of excessive clarification although the main cause is either insufficient color development in grape skins, because of a poor vintage or poor viticultural practices, or too short of a maceration period. Some grape varieties have inherently low pigmentation, and no amount of maceration can produce a deeply colored wine.

The recommended corrective action is to blend wines, if possible, until you get the desired color for your style of wine, a practice most often used in red winemaking. Although different wines are usually blended to achieve a specific flavor profile, blending is also used to improve color. Varieties, such as Alicante Bouschet, are often used specifically to add color to light-colored reds. The drawback of blending is that it requires stocking different wines – not always possible in home winemaking – and may require a considerable volume to achieve significant color changes.

Another effective method to improve color in reds is to add natural (dehydrated) grape skin powder; it does not affect the taste of wine. Add the powder to the wine, before fining or filtering to avoid bottle sedimentation, at a rate of 5 g/hL by first dissolving it in a little volume of wine. Repeat until you get the desired color. The use of unorthodox, color-enhancing methods, such as food-coloring addition, is not effective and is not recommended.

If you expect reduced color extraction from your reds, you can add natural yeast derivative nutrients, such as OptiRED, in conjunction with macerating enzymes at the start of red wine fermentation to help stabilize color.

Note that wine will also change color as it ages, more so in reds, as the little amount of oxygen will cause tannins and color pigments (anthocyanins) to combine. The extent of color change depends on tannin and anthocyanin concentrations. For example, you would expect that a richly-colored, young wine with little tannins, such as a young stainless steel (no oak aging) Cabernet, would become lighter. In contrast, tannic wine with little anthocyanins, such as a full-bodied Pinot Noir, which is inherently light-colored, would become redder and darker.

As wine continues to age, browning in bottled wine happens naturally, albeit very slowly, and manifests itself as a brownish color, especially at the rim, in reds (think of an old Barolo). In the types of wines where some browning is expected, it is perfectly acceptable although you should not let the wine age too long after this as it will start losing freshness, fruit and subtle aromas, and it will start deteriorating.

Back to Top or Back to Troubleshooting Page

HomeProducts & ServicesResourcesNews & EventsBlogAbout DanielSitemap