Rosé, is it wine?

Let’s get straight to the point: yes! It’s even the second most popular wine colour in France, ahead of white and after red (source: FranceAgriMer and OIV).

Where does rosé come from?

Rosé wine started in Provence, the first historic vineyard in France dating back to sixth century BC. The vine was introduced by the Phoceans or the Phoenicians (historians are still debating!). Makes you think, doesn’t it? The biggest rosé producing region in the world is 2500 years old.

The production of rosé is part of French ancestral expertise and savoir-faire. All French wine-producing regions make it, whether it is an AOP (France’s protected designation of origin), an IGP (European protected geographical origin) or a Vin de France.

How do you make rosé?

In France, rosé is a wine in its own right, which requires know-how. It is made with purpose, with specially chosen grape varieties and terroir. It gets its colour from the skins of red grapes. The grape juice is in contact with the skins for an amount of time decided on by the person making it: the longer, the more colour the wine will have. Simple.

Outside of the numerous other countries, in France, only the Champagne region is authorised to blend white and red wines to make a rosé. Even this method has precise rules. For example, winemakers in Champagne can only do it before the secondary fermentation.

“50 shades of rosé”

There are many rosé colours, obtained from red grapes and linked to contact time between the juice and the skins. Of course, bad wines have a thousand artificial techniques for achieving the desired colour (like through carbon filtration). Bad wines being not of interest to us, let’s look at the shades of rosé, their origin.

Rosé wine through pressing: we directly press the harvest (whole or destemmed), more or less slowly depending on the result we want, and we transfer the juice into the vats (or barrels) to start the alcohol fermentation. With this technique, we create clearer rosés.

Rosé wine through maceration: the difference from the first method is simple. Upon receiving the harvest, we don’t directly press the grapes, we place them in the vat to macerate them (up to 24 hours, more than that and it starts to become red). The grapes then release their pulp, their seeds and their juice. It’s during this short period of maceration that the juice becomes coloured, it becomes pink. We then press the must to only extract the liquid, the grape juice, which will then ferment; preferably at a low temperature in order to preserve as many flavours as possible.

Rosé wine through bleeding (saignée): the harvest is put into a vat (like the maceration method) and intended to make red (unlike maceration). After a set maceration time (up to 48 hours), we remove the juice we want to vinify from the vat… it’s already nicely coloured, it will ferment and be our “rosé de saignée”; the other part of the vat is left to gently macerate to create a red wine.

Drinking rosé, a guaranteed headache?

Not at all! Only drinking a bad wine (or way too much wine) will give you a headache. Rosé, if it’s well-made, will not have excess sulphites or other additives which will overwhelm your liver, thereby leading to dehydration and the famous headache. When drunk responsibly, rosé can be enjoyed just like a wine of any other colour: red, white, orange!

What’s the best rosé in the world?

Speaking completely impartially, of course, there are three: Sunny Caaaaaaat (macerated rosé), Cosmic Caaaaaaat (rosé de saignée 24h) and Atomic Caaaaaaat (rosé de saignée 48h). We write this out of pure experience.


Rosé is a real wine, a singular wine, a wine for BBQs, for family feasts, for any time of year!