Designation for a wine made from dark (blue to black) grape varieties. Red wine has a larger proportion of phenols and a smaller proportion of acids than white wine. The colour is due to the anthocyanins mainly contained in the skins of dark grapes (i.e. not in the pulp). After destemming (removal of the grape skeleton) and light crushing, classic maceration is usually carried out. The fermentation of the must together with the skins and pulp extracts the colourings and tannins from the skins and seeds. Alternative processes are autovinification, macération carbonique (carbonic maceration), mash heating, rotofermentation and overpumping.
After 8 to 14 days, sometimes already during the course of the mash fermentation, the first must is drawn off from the fermentation tank and only then the mash is pressed. However, pressing is not as important for red wine as for white wine and is therefore not always carried out. As press must contains a lot of colouring and tanning agents, the intensity depends on the type of red wine desired. In most cases the press must is processed together with the flow must. After alcoholic fermentation, independent malolactic fermentation is usually permitted. The wine is then drawn off from the fermentation tank and fining and, if necessary, filtration takes place. The subsequent ageing can take place in tanks (stainless steel, ceramic) and/or in wooden barrels. The container and duration are determined according to the type of wine.
Red wines are often aged in barriques, for white wines this is rather the exception. However, the last phase of ageing takes place in the bottle for long-lasting wines. For great wines, bottle aging can take many years to several decades until the optimal drinking maturity is reached. As a rule, red wines have a longer shelf life or more development potential than white wines. Examples of elaborately prepared red wines are "Barca Velha" from Ferreira (Douro, Portugal), Château Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac), Château Pétrus (Pomerol), Château Valandraud (St-Émilion, France) and the "Unico" from the Vega Sicilia winery (Spain).
The rosé, also made from red grapes, is much more similar to a white wine than a red wine in terms of production. Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures or cellar techniques, as well as the types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law are included under the keyword vinification. Comprehensive information on wine law can be found under the keyword wine law.