Why are wine bottles different colours?

Wine comes in a range of different coloured bottles. Sometimes the basis of the choice of glass colour is for the benefit of the wine and sometimes just because the winemaker thinks that it will help to sell wine. There are plenty of different bottle colours out there, but the most common colour is green. Storing your wine in appropriate cellar conditions will also assist with the development of your wine. 

Which Wine Belongs in Which Bottle?

Typically bold red wines are kept in dark green bottles, while dry white wines are bottled in lighter green ones. Burgundies, Rhones, along with Pino, Alsaces, and plenty of Champagnes are also kept in green bottles. 

Besides the appearance, what’s the purpose of storing wine in green glass?

 

The primary reason for keeping wine in green bottles is to prevent light from penetrating the bottle and causing the wines to alter its composition. Clear colourless bottles have recently become popular with white wine producers in countries such as, Australia, Greece, Canada and New Zealand. Dark-colored bottles are most commonly used for red wines, but many white wines can be bottled in dark green. 

The primary reason for the use of coloured or tinted glass is that natural sunlight and UV light can break down desirable antioxidants and tannins in a wine. This process occurs over time if a bottle is left exposed and affects storability, this can cause a wine to prematurely deteriorate. Dark glass can prevent oxidation and increase storage life. 

Wines that are ready-to-drink, such as white wines, Rose, Rieslings and wines with a short anticipated storage lifespan are bottled in clear colourless bottles.

 

The traditional colours used for wine bottles are:

  • Bordeaux: dark green for reds, light green for dry whites, colourless for sweet whites.
  • Burgundy and the Rhone: dark green.
  • Mosel and Alsace: dark to medium green, although some producers have traditionally used amber.
  • Rhine: amber, although some producers have traditionally used green.
  • Champagne: Usually dark to medium green. Rosé champagnes are usually in a colourless or green bottle.
Keeping your wine storage cellar clear of natural sunlight and UV light will assist your wines. Wine storage racking systems assist to not only organise your wine but also to keep them away from light sources. 

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