Eat + Drink

Wine Colors For Dummies
Wine types by color would be the correct term, I guess.


I was at a bar with my cousin the other day when I spotted a local, orange wine on the list. I’d heard the term thrown around before but I’d yet to actually see or try one, never mind knowing how it varied from other types of wines. I’d only just sort of assimilated rosés, although my roommates and the glass recycling bin across from our apartment might say otherwise.

This got me thinking, I didn’t exactly know what the difference in process was for any of the types. For me – and hopefully, for a few more – it was always one of those abstract, sounds-logic-in-your-head bits of information that doesn’t compel you to look deeper: Red grapes = red wines, white grapes = white wines. BOOM. Done.

The reality is just a smidge more complex than that, but it’s not hard to get at all. So, when talking about wine types classified by their color, it essentially comes down to two things: grape color, and the presence or absence of skins. And for the love of wine, don’t @ me for this, I’m trying to make it as easy to understand as possible.

So, I made this extremely simplified chart for people like me who will drink wine of any color (neon blueberry wine included), but still want to know what’s up.

When talking about types, there are also sparkling, dessert, and fortified wines. So, seven types in total, although orange isn’t yet as widely included in wine literature as a type the way rosé is. Personally, I would argue that orange wine is a version of white wine the way rosé is a version of red, so hopefully, it’ll be more universally accepted in the future.

On the other hand, the actual color or shade a wine can take on can range from brown to gold, lemon green and amber, violet, ruby, garnet, salmon, blush, pink… A rainbow, really.

If you want to take a deeper look into orange wine, I highly recommend this article by Wine Folly.

So that’s that! And don’t even get me started on green wine, but that’s a horse of another color. Or should I say, wine of another color?


Avatar photo

Based mainly in Colorado. Loves cheese, rain, and starry nights. Can usually be spotted in the wild wearing a Spirit Jersey and balancing two cameras. Often laughs and cries at the same time. Barely survived one Master's program, but wants to do another.

One Comment

  • Sara Rubio

    Very informative! I didn’t know orange wine existed! I would have liked to see a little more about the ingredients behind it, perhaps in another article 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *