When you visit an Oklahoma winery, there will be many unique wines to try, including rosé. These wines are known for their color, with varieties ranging from pinks so pale that they are almost white to deep shades of raspberry. In addition to the palette, rosés have a delicious flavor profile featuring citrus, spice, fruit, and floral notes.
Because these selections are so unique, you may be interested in learning how these wines are made. Overall, rosés are produced in the same way that red or white Oklahoma wines are. However, there are some key differences.
How Are Oklahoma Wines Made?
After the grapes are grown and harvested, they are brought to a winery. There, they are crushed into a mixture called “must” and fermented. The mixture will also be pressed at some point (before or after fermentation, depending on the type of wine). The wine is then clarified, bottled, and aged to perfection.
When making rosé, there are a few more steps in-between.
An Oklahoma Winery Can Make Rosé Through:
The most common rosé production method is “maceration.” For this, red wine grapes are harvested and crushed. Afterward, they are left to soak for 2 to 48 hours, allowing the grape skins to start influencing the juice. This process is called “maceration” – the longer the grapes are macerated, the darker the juice. After this, the skins are strained out of the grape juice, and the fermentation process begins. Due to extended contact with the grape skins, the resulting wines have more texture and body than some other rosés.
The “direct press” style of rosé production is also a very popular approach. To create this wine, red grapes are harvested and pressed to extract their juices. Unlike maceration, the skins and the grape juice are separated almost immediately. While this contact is limited, it still leads to a finished wine that has a lovely pink color. From there, the winemaking process continues in the usual way until the rosé is ready to be enjoyed.
Another method is the “saignée” approach. If you create rosé wines this way, you must also make red wine. This method involves “bleeding off” some of the juice from a vat that is being used to make red wine. (The name “saignée” translates from French as “bleeding.”) Because the removed juice had limited contact with the grape skins, the resulting wine will be pink. Saignée wines tend to be more complex and have a fuller body when compared to some other rosé varieties.
While other methods start with red grapes, “blended” rosés start with white grapes. The winemakers begin by making a white wine; afterward, a small amount of red wine is added, leading to a pink color. If you try a sparkling rosé, it was likely made with this production style. Blending may also be used in addition to maceration, saignée, or direct press. For example, if a direct press wine does not have the desired shade, the winemaker may blend some red wine into the rosé.
Enjoy Rosé on Oklahoma Wine Tours
There are many wineries and vineyards across the state, each producing a unique variety of wines – often including rosé. If you want to try quality wines, consider visiting members of the Oklahoma Grape Industry Council. In addition to creating delicious wines, many of our member vineyards and wineries offer Oklahoma wine tours, so you can learn more about the grape growing and winemaking process.