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Adirondack Winery

Rachel Rumpf
April 11, 2023 | Faces of Adirondack Winery, Heard it through the Grapevine, Wine for Thought, Wine Guides | Rachel Rumpf

Why is our Red Wine lighter than most reds?

Red Wine in Glasses

Many of our customers often come to us asking why our red wines are lighter than other red wines, particularly California reds, that you see. So, I spoke with our winemaker, Brad Casacci, to get to the bottom of the question many of you have been asking in our Tasting Rooms.

For starters, there is a cooler climate in the Northeast, particularly in Upstate New York, than in other parts of the world. For example, California typically has a hot and dry climate, whereas New York is quite the opposite with a cold and wet climate. From year to year, the climate differs, which has an affect of the deepness in color of each vintage of wine.

“In 2020, and 2022 there were good growing seasons with dry and hot weather throughout the State of New York. This kind of growing season makes the grapes smaller, which allows for a high percentage of skin contact between the flesh and skin of the grape to extract more color during fermentation.” Our winemaker Brad states.

Some wineries choose to discreetly darken their wines’ color using Mega Purple. Mega Purple is a highly concentrated grape juice that is extremely vibrant in color and can darken the lighter-looking red wines. Mega Purple is made from Rubired grapes, a grape that is rich in red color in the skin and flesh, contributing to the deep red color.

“We want to make our red wines as authentic as possible, so we choose not to add Mega Purple to our wines. Which is the reason that they give off a lighter color than your typical California red wines,” Brad states. “Some wineries in the Finger Lakes, which is where we get our grapes from, will even market their lighter colored wines as “White Cab Franc’s” or “White Merlots” to get them to sell without adding any Mega Purple.”

So why do some other wineries use Mega Purple? "Because there is a false public perception that darker red wine means higher quality, better in flavor, etc," says co-owner Sasha Pardy. "This is simply not true. New York cold climate red wines are unique in their own way and have just as much complexity of flavor as a California or Italian Cabernet." Pardy continued to say that many of our red wines have won countless gold and higher medals for their quality, "New York red wine is just different. I love it when customers come in thinking they won't like the Red wines and then are Wowed by them, that is our victory!"

Well, there you have it! Our wines are lighter in color due to the Upstate New York climate and going the natural route by not using Mega Purple, but they are just as complex and flavorful as California red wines and more!


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