Different kinds of wine

After nature has done her work and the grapes have been harvested it is the cellar master’s task to ensure that the vineyard’s quality enhancing ingredients are brought as completely and undamaged as possible from the grape into the wine. For quality wines the wine law distinguishes between three kinds of wine, white, red and rosé wine. The permitted grapes and the production process were clearly defined.

White Wine – Crisp, Fruity, Fresh
After the wine harvest the grapes are usually destemmed i.e. separated from the stems and the grapes are squeezed. The so-called grape mash develops. For the production of white wine the mash is pressed either directly or after a short waiting time
. Through this process the wine grower receives the must, which still contains suspended matters. This must is stored in tanks or barrels and starts to ferment there. The fermentation starts because of the yeasts, which are natural substances of the grapes and juice or are added as pure cultures. From the grapes‘ fructose, alcohol and carbon dioxide develop in this process. Possibly unfermented sugar remains in the wine and is referred to as residual sugar.

Red Wine – Powerful, Velvety, Voluminous
The grapes of red wines are also destemmed directly after the harvest in most cases. This action avoids an undesirable, high tannine content. In contrast to the procedure for white wines the red vinified wines are fermented as mash or are briefly heated. The resulting alcohol or the heating release colour pigments from the grape skins.

Rosé – Sociable, Fresh, Easy-going
Not every rosé-coloured wine is also referred to as “Rosé“. The term “Weißherbst“ is used equally often, which comes from the processing of the red grapes which are processed like white wine grapes. The grape variety is always indicated on the wine label in case of Weißherbst. Meanwhile, both terms are used synonymously, since their production hardly differs.

Both are made from red wine grapes, however, they are processed like white wine grapes. Red grapes also have white fruit juice, the colouring matters are usually only contained in the grape skins. The red grapes are only slightly squeezed, so that grape mash develops. Over time colour pigments are released from the grape skin and pass over into juice. If the grape juice has reached the requested colour intensity – this can take between a few hours up to several days depending on the grape variety – mash is pressed and rosé-coloured must is fermented. Rosé or Weißherbst wines are often carbonated and offered as sparkling Proseccos. Apart from that they can be frequently found on wine menus after they were refined into Winzersekt.

The German rosé wines are not only perfectly suitable as summer wines with their lightness and freshness, they are also easy-going companions on sociable occasions. This has also been recognised by consumers. They declared Rosé and Weißherbst their favourite wines and have been buying products from German wineries with a growing tendency.

Rosé and Weißherbst simply taste best when drunken young, during the first years their pronounced fruit aromas show to their fullest advantage. They are rarely intended for storage over a longer period of time, thus, they should not be stored more than one or two years.

Rotling and Schillerwein – Rosé Specialties
The Rotling
– a particular rosé wine – is produced by the joint pressing of red and white wine grapes. “Badisch Rotgold“ is a Rotling from Baden, which is exclusively made from Grauburgunder and Spätburgunder grapes. The Grauburgunder must have the higher proportion in the blending. The “Schillerwein“ is a traditional Rotling from the winegrowing region of Wuerttemberg. For its production no particular grape varieties are prescribed. The wine probably doesn’t owe its name to the poet Friedrich von Schiller, who was born in Marbach in the Land of Swabia, but to the wine’s shimmering colour.

(Source: German Wine Institute, www.deutscheweine.de as of 5 July 2011)