Clear versus green/brown wine bottles

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Huba Huba

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What determines which bottles' a person should use. I know reds need colored bottles, I also use them for blackberry and elderberry and clear bottles for light colored meads. But what about other country wines? Peach? Strawberry? Cranberry? Aronia? The coffee dessert kit I am currently making? The Black Forrest dessert wine I will make?
Do all dark wines need dark bottles and light wines can use clear or is there another rule? Is there an advantage in using colored bottles and lightly pigmented wines? Some wines sure look pretty in clear bottles.
 

balatonwine

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Wine bottle color is based on Marketing, Tradition and Wine Quality.

Today, bottle color is often mostly in that order.

That is, today most bottle color is probably marketing based. People who will buy the wine "expect" XYZ wine to be a dark green bottle, so that is what is used.

Then there is tradition, especially in Europe, which acutally does drive marketing above. So in that "tradition" some wine making regions used a specific color and even shape of bottle. And wherever that wine was grown outside Europe they used the same bottle color. Why? Because they "just" did it to not rock the boat and make their wines as if they were European wines I guess.....

And then wine quality. It is assumed that darker glass prevent UV light issues with the wine, and so many long storage wines, in theory, should be put into dark bottles, while short duration wines can be put into light green or clear bottles. But that is only really true if the bottles are exposed to UV light. There are some long term wines stored in dark cellars in clear bottles and are just fine. In my cellar, it is pretty dark. No UV light. So the bottle color really should not matter. So the wine storage location, and how long you expect to store the wine, can also dictate the bottle color.

Weirdly, Amber colored bottles provide the best UV protection, but they are rarely seen outside of Germany. So, there again "tradition" and "marketing" is probably more the issue, rather than really trying to maximize UV protection.

The vast array of my bottle colors, clear, amber (brown ones), and various green shades:

img_2002255023.jpg


Hope this helps.
 
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balatonwine

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I was at a Winery several years ago and the winemaker, an elderly immigrant from Germany told me: Keep it simple, everything into green Bordeaux bottles.

Since when is wine making simple? ;)

Marketing: How can a consumer see the lovely color of a Rosé wine in a green bottle? :cool:
 
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Marketing and practical considerations are great points. For home winemakers? Practical typically wins.

For folks that have trouble getting bottles, any corkable bottle is the right one. Been there, done that, and my post-bottling picture had 25 bottles of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

I'm currently in a position where I have sufficient bottles, so I prefer Bordeaux bottles, as regardless of size, they have the same general shape. They stack well and take up less room. Except the bottles that are a bit wider at the top -- hate them!

Color? I use clear bottles for white wines and lighter fruit wines, as they'll get used sooner. Reds and darker fruits go in green/brown bottles, and I have a few cases of blue that I got from a local winery. Tasting room empties are great to have!

Since I don't have marketing considerations, when someone wants to see the color, I pour them a glass. ;)

If I was a commercial winery, everything @balatonwine said would come into play.
 
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Since when is wine making simple? ;)

Marketing: How can a consumer see the lovely color of a Rosé wine in a green bottle? :cool:

I belive he was talking about bottle selection only. And in his case, he didn't make a rose, so it wasn't an issue.

Particularly for us at home, use what you got and don't worry about it.
 

balatonwine

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I belive he was talking about bottle selection only. And in his case, he didn't make a rose, so it wasn't an issue.

Did you read the original post? He said:

"Is there an advantage in using colored bottles and lightly pigmented wines? Some wines sure look pretty in clear bottles."

So it seems the OP was considering "lightly pigmented wines" like, a Rosé and the use of clear bottles. For good esthetic reasons.

Even home wine makers may want their wine in the bottle to look nice.... Just saying...
 
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Shurt1073

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Love these discussions! Its nice to see what everyone else is doing with bottles and why.

I have a pretty even number of clear & dark brown bottles plus just a few green. Must admit, I spend way to much time collecting, cleaning, and putting labels on bottles but I actually don't mind. Some days it gives me something to do.
 
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I have a pretty even number of clear & dark brown bottles plus just a few green. Must admit, I spend way to much time collecting, cleaning, and putting labels on bottles but I actually don't mind. Some days it gives me something to do.
Many have learned the hard to way that it's best to ensure you have enough bottles BEFORE bottling day .... ;)

My sink holds 8 bottles at a time, so when I get 6 to 8 bottles, I soak 'em. When picking up empties from a local winery, I process several batches per day until done. Much better to have 'em ready to rock.
 

balatonwine

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it's best to ensure you have enough bottles BEFORE bottling day .... ;)

Excellent, premium advice.

I would only add one caveat: Ensure you either have enough bottles or if not... enough friends around to finish off what you could not bottle on bottling day.... haha. :cool:
 

BigDaveK

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What determines which bottles' a person should use. I know reds need colored bottles, I also use them for blackberry and elderberry and clear bottles for light colored meads. But what about other country wines? Peach? Strawberry? Cranberry? Aronia? The coffee dessert kit I am currently making? The Black Forrest dessert wine I will make?
Do all dark wines need dark bottles and light wines can use clear or is there another rule? Is there an advantage in using colored bottles and lightly pigmented wines? Some wines sure look pretty in clear bottles.
Your blackberry, elderberry, cranberry, and aronia have anthocyanins (like grapes) which is responsible for the color and has the potential to fade. Color stability is also affected by pH greater than 3.6, low tannin, fermentation temperature, and more. For a home winemaker where the time frame is usually months to a couple years it's not a big deal. Stored properly, cool and dark like somebody said, clear bottles are fine.

Interestingly, whites and reds eventually - given enough time - become almost the same color.
 

balatonwine

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Interestingly, whites and reds eventually - given enough time - become almost the same color.
Wait....What?

A white wine becomes the same color as a red wine?

Well...maybe. A white wine via oxidation,,,, eventually,,,,, may take on a red color. But that is not a wine I would want to drink....

Seriously...... ick. :ts
 

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What determines which bottles' a person should use. I know reds need colored bottles, I also use them for blackberry and elderberry and clear bottles for light colored meads. But what about other country wines? Peach? Strawberry? Cranberry? Aronia? The coffee dessert kit I am currently making? The Black Forrest dessert wine I will make?
Do all dark wines need dark bottles and light wines can use clear or is there another rule? Is there an advantage in using colored bottles and lightly pigmented wines? Some wines sure look pretty in clear bottles.
I bottle all my country/fruit wines in dark green bottles, my heat shrinks are color coded to the fruit type, and label states type wine, year etc..
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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Your blackberry, elderberry, cranberry, and aronia have anthocyanins (like grapes) which is responsible for the color and has the potential to fade. Color stability is also affected by pH greater than 3.6, low tannin, fermentation temperature, and more. For a home winemaker where the time frame is usually months to a couple years it's not a big deal. Stored properly, cool and dark like somebody said, clear bottles are fine.

Interestingly, whites and reds eventually - given enough time - become almost the same color.
i like years on my wines, I bulk most everything for a minimum of 2 years, correct PH, much more fruit per recipe, more condensed concentrates, and a higher ABV, my colors and flavors stay true,
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i like years on my wines, I bulk most everything for a minimum of 2 years, correct PH, much more fruit per recipe, more condensed concentrates, and a higher ABV, my colors and flavors stay true,
I expect you can get a lot of shelf life, far more than is typical for fruit wines. Of course, that assumes you don't drink it all .....
 
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