The European Union agriculture chief has decided to cancel plans that would have allowed wineries to label blended red and white wines as rosé, convinced by producers’ arguments that such a decision would undermine the image of traditional rosé.
Quality rosé winemakers in France, Italy and Spain have been lobbying the Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, against the idea for some months. The producers argued that to allow the simple mixing of red wine to white wine to make rosé would turn winemaking into an industry instead of a skill, mislead customers and put thousands of people out of work.
Quality rosé is generally made from dark-skinned grapes that otherwise would be used for white-wine production. The uncolored juice from crushed grapes is allowed to remain in contact with the grape skins and seeds for a time, and even before fermentation it acquires the characteristic pale pink tinge of classic rosé wine.
The practice of mixing reds and whites is already done by New World wine-makers in countries such as Australia and South Africa, however the EU’s rules about rosé wine apply only to wine produced in the European Union, and there are no restrictions on sales of wine from other countries, however it is made.