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Why are most wine bottles tinted?

Sienna Serrao

When purchasing a bottle of wine, you account for the wine varietal, the brand, and the price, but have you ever noticed something that is virtually the same between every wine...the color of the wine bottle! No, winemakers didn’t one day just construct a meeting in the early 1700s to agree on a color for the bottle, but rather there is a scientific reason for this color coordination between the type of wine and the color of bottle.

Depending on the type of wine, most tinted wine bottles are dark green, clear, and amber, but some include blue, deep brown and even frosted bottles.

You can peruse our online wine store and see for yourself how the bottle colors of the wines featured in our wine clubs differ from one another!

Red Wine and Dark Green Bottles

There are several reasons why red wine is bottled in dark colored glass. First of all, wine is not to be exposed to any kind of light for long periods of time, whether it is sunlight or incandescent light. Light increases wines likelihood to oxidize, causing it to breakdown, in turn affecting the color, aroma, and taste of the wine. Oxidized wine takes on a vinegary taste and loses its depth of flavor.

This Oxidation process caused by UV rays is much more common among red wines, therefore enforcing why the green glass bottles were born. Since red wines are often left to age, the dark green bottles play an important part in preserving their quality along with temperature consistency. Another reason dark bottles are used for red wines is so the consumer cannot judge the wine based solely on the color. A final reason some winemakers have proposed is that dark glass helps hide the natural sediments that come in them.

Related: The Gritty Truth: Why is there Sediment in my Wine?

White Wines and Light Colored Bottles

White wines and Rosés on the other hand are often bottled in clear, amber, or generally lighter colored bottles. White wines are often consumed younger than red wines and are stored in refrigerators, which keep out light as well. Just as the winemakers use dark green glass to disguise the color of the red wine, Rosés purposefully use clear glass to accentuate the visually appealing color. But just like white wines, Rosés also aren’t meant to age for an extensive period of time.

It is likely the Champagne producers have done the most research on the consumer’s impression of the wine’s color. In fact, Roederer's Cristal Champagne is bottled in clear glass but is wrapped in orange tissue to filter out the ultra-violet light and mask the wine’s color.

Since some wine bottles nowadays are bottled in UV protected glass the colors used are less necessary, but are rather continued as a tradition. Also, it has been researched that 70 to 90 percent of wine purchased in America is consumed within 24 hours of buying. All in all, we know that what is inside the bottle is what truly matters!

Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press, DeMoor Winery edition featured in 1994!