Rosé wines may be produced in a number of different ways, depending on the desired result. The actual colour varies depending on the grape variety and winemaking process used, and often may seem to be more orange in colour than pink or light red.
The first is used when rosé wine is the primary product. Red skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically two or three days. The grapes are then pressed, and the skins are removed rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The skins contain much of the strongly flavoured tannins and other compounds. The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the colour of the final wine.
Saignee or bleeding, is used when the winemaker desires to impart more tannin and colour to a red wine, and removes some pink juice from the 'must' at an early vinification stage, in a process known as bleeding the vats. The removed juice is then fermented separately, producing the rosé as a by-product of the red wine, which is intensified as a result of the bleeding process, because the volume of juice in the 'must' is reduced and the 'must' involved in the maceration is concentrated.
In the past, it was fairly common to make rosé wines by simply taking a white wine and adding a bit of red wine. Some winemakers thought this could produce interesting wines that possessed some of the original character of a red wine while retaining the crispness of the white wine. This practice has fallen out of fashion; except in the making of Champagne Rosé where it is a highly respected skill.
Rosé stills remain popular in regions of France and Spain, which have ensured the survival of some quality makers of rosé wine, and now many people in England, United States and New Zealand are turning once again to this refreshing summertime favourite.