1. Clarity
    2. Color
    3. Brightness 
    4. Tearing
    5. Rim Variation

1) CLARITY The Ability to See Through the Wine, Sometimes Referred to as Intensity.

  • Clarity Scale   WHITE= Clear   |   Pale   |   Hazy   |   Cloudy   |   Turbid
  • Clarity Scale   RED= Clear   |   Pale   |   Murky   |   Opaque   |   Full
    • Concentration of Color Compounds   |   Age
    • Finning   |   Unfiltered    
    • Bigger Berries   |   Thinner Skin
    • Cooler Climate   |   Limited Maceration
    • Over Watering   |   Varietal Trait
    • Smaller Berries(More Skin to Juice Ratio), Age, Extended Extraction
    • Turbidity- Suspended Microscopic Particles Within a Wine.
    • Indicated a Measure of Haziness, Altered Ability to Reflect Light.
    • Sign of a Young Wine, Unfiltered/ Natural Wine or Poor Viniculture Practices.
    • Turbidity Makes a Wine Translucent Rather Than Transparent.
    • Particles- Things Suspended In Wine That Effect Wine Clarity.(Sediment, Tartrates)
    • Red= Baga, Barbara, Carmenere, Cinsaut, Counoise, Dolcetto, Frappato, Gamey, Garnacha, Grignolino, Kadarka, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Nerello Mascalese, Pelaverga, Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Rossese, Sangiovese, Schiava, Tempranillo, Vespolina, Xinomavro, Zinfandel
    • Red= Alicante Bouchet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Tannat, Tourigo Nacional

Clarity and Color Mean Nothing About a Wines Quality Unless You Put it In Context.

2) COLOR Color In Wine is a Result of Light Waves Being Reflected by Compound In the Wine.

  • Color In Red Wine is Determined by the Type and Amount of Anthocyanins. They Are Found In the Skins of Most Red Skinned Grapes. Smaller Berries With Thicker Skins Will Have More Skin to Juice Ratio and More Anthocyanins/ Color.  Anthocyanins Bind Up With Tannins to Form Pigmented Tannins. Over Time Pigmented Tannins Polymerize/ Form Larger Chains. Eventually These Chains Get So Large/ Heavy That They Precipitate or Fall Out of the Wine(Resolve) In the Form of Sediment. As This Process Happens Over Time the Color Fades Out of the Wine. Red Wine That’s Aged In Oak Barrel Will From More Stable Pigmented Tannins and the Color Will Remain More Stable Longer.
    • Wine With Lower PH. Tend to Show Bright Cherry In Color.
    • Wine With Higher PH. Show More Purple/ Blue.
  • Color Extraction and Concentration is Greatest After 5 to 8 Days After Maceration.
  • Whole Cluster Fermentation Loses Move Color, as the Stems Absorb a lot of the Color Molecules.
  • Pigmentation Extraction and Color Effect Everything In a Wine From Appearance, Mouthfeel and Clarity.
  • In Nature a Berries Color is Used to Attract or Call Animals to Eat Them.
  • Color Scale   WHITE= Watery   |   Amber   |   Straw   |   Yellow   |   Gold   |   Brown
  • Color Scale   PINK= Pink   |   Salmon   |   Orange
  • Color Scale   RED= Ruby   |   Garnet   |   Purple   |   Tawny   |   Brown

Reds Lighten With Age, Whites Darken With Age, Both Turn to Brownish.

    • Varietal   |   Age   |   Skin                          
    • Oxidation   |   Oak   |   Grape Size
    • Ripeness   |   Climate   |   Aspect                      
    • Vinification   |   Sun Exposure   |   Maceration Time
    • White= Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Falanghina,  Roussanne,  Viognier
    • Aged   |   Oak Influence   |   Botrytis    
    • Skin Color   |   Skin Thickness


  • HUE- Hue is Just a Color, One That’s Represented On a Color Wheel.
    • Primary Color- Red Blue, Yellow
    • Secondary Color- Combination of Any Two Primary Colors…Red + Blue = Violet Yellow + Blue = Green
    • Tertiary Color- Follow the Six Gaps Between Primary and Secondary Colors.
  • TINTS Created When You Add White to Any Hue On the Color Wheel.
  • TONES- Created When You Add Both Black and White to a Hue.
  • SHADES- Created When You Add Black to Any Hue On the Color Wheel.

Clarity and Color In a Wine Say/ Mean Nothing About Quality Unless You Put Them In the Context of the Varietal.

  • POLYPHENOLS-(AKA=Phenols/ Phenolics) A Chemical Family/ Class of Plant-Derived Antioxidants Responsible For Red Wine Color, Color Density, Hue and Mouthfeel. There Are 5 Free Anthocyanins and 5 Conjugated Anthocyanins.  These Give Chromatic Characteristics That Make Wine Lighter or Darker.
  • In Nature Phenolic Compounds Enhance Many Plant Functions Including Protection From Predators/ Disease/ Ultraviolet Radiation and Provides Pigmentation.
  • Phenolics is Something You Can Measure, That You Can Model and Can Manage.  Phenolics is an Important Part of the Winemaking Process.
    • Devices Used to Measure Phenolics.
      • Spectrophotometer– Measures Total Phenolics, Browning, Anthocyanin/ Color Content.
      • Colormeter– Measures Total Visible Color In the Wine.


  • FLAVONOIDS- Plant Pigments Associated With Fruit Coloration.
    • Comes From Grape Seeds, Skins and Stems.
    • Flavonoids Include Anthocyanins, Flavonols and Flavan-3-ols
    • NON-FLAVONOIDS- Catchall Category For Smaller Phenolic Compounds.
  • ANTHOCYANINS- Phenolics Compound Pigment Found In the Skins of Grapes and Are Responsible For Color In Certain Red Varietals.  Anthocyanins Are Influenced by Terroir, Climate and Are Water Soluble Pigments. (Purple, Red, Blue In Color Depending On a Wines PH.)
    • ~Etymology~ Derived From the Greed Words For Flower & Blue…Anthos & Kyanos.
    • Are Odorless and Flavorless.
    • Act as an Antioxidant.
    • Accumulate In Red Skins After Veraison.
    • Anthocyanidins/ Color Bleached-Out”, Diminish With Excessive Sulfur Dioxide Use.
    • A Young Wine Contains Free Anthocyanins, Which Are Unstable.  As a Wine Ages the Anthocyanins Binds With Tannins and Other Compounds In Wine, Forming a Stable Bound Anthocyanins Called a Polymeric Pigment.
  • ANTHOCYANIN SUB-GROUPS– 5/ 6/ 20? Types…
    • Cyanidin (Bilberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Plums)
    • Delphinidin- (Cranberry, Pomegranates, Grapes)
    • Malvidin (Red Grape, Cranberry, Blueberry, Black Rice)
    • Petunidin
    • Peonidin- (Dark Pigment, Oxidizes Easily, Breaks Down Sooner)
      • RED= Sangiovese
    • Pelargonidin-

3) BRIGHTNESS Capacity of a Wine to Reflect Light, a Function of Clarity, the Difference In How Much Light is Reflected In Wine.

  • Brightness Scale Dull   |   Hazy   |   Bright   |   Day Bright   |   Star-Bright   |   Brilliant
  • Intensity Dull   |   Hazy   |   Bright   |   Day Bright   |   Star-Bright   |   Brilliant
  • FALL BRIGHT- Point When Wine Becomes Limpid or Clear, After Cloudiness Drops as Sediment Falls to the Bottom of Container. Wine is Usually Racked Off the Sediment or In the Case of Sparkling Wine Disgorged.

SEDIMENT- Precipitated Tannins, Pigments and Other Solids That Fall Out of Suspension and Accumulate On Bottom of Bottle With a Wines Advancement In Age.

CARBON DIOXIDE/ GAS- By-Product of the Fermentation Process.

  • Young Wines Bottled Early, Excess of Dissolved Carbon Dioxide That Has Become Sealed In Bottle, Carbonic Maceration.

4) TEARING Appears as a Film Coating the Sides of the Glass After Swirling the Wine.

  • Difference In Evaporation Rate of Alcohol and Evaporation Rate of Water, and Unrelated to Viscosity.  Size of Tears Can Be Thick or Thin, and Move Slow or Fast.
    • Thick, Slow Moving Tears With Clear Definition Can Mean the Wine Has Higher Alcohol Levels, and Thin Quick Moving Tears, or Wine That Falls In Sheets and Man a WIne With Lower Alcohol Levels.
  • AKA= Staining, Tears, Legs, Cathedral Windows
  • Possible Causes of Legs- Highly Extracted Wine, +ABV., Glycerin, Higher Residual Sugar.
  • Tearing Usually Become Prominent In Wine With Alcohol is Above 12.5%. ABV.

GLYCEROL- Colorless, Odorless, Slightly Sweet, Syrupy Substance That Gives Wine the Impression of Smoothness and Impacts Mouthfeel. It’s Derived by the Fermentation of Glucose and Accounts For About 10 of a Wines Sugars.

  • Forms When Sugars In Wine Combine With Volatile Compounds. By-Product of Grape Ripeness, Fermentation, Yeast Type.
    • White= Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Grigio

VISCOSITY- A Wines Ability to Move Around Within Itself.

  • Viscosity Isn’t to Be Confused With Tearing. Viscosity is Higher In Wines With Higher Alcohol Content, and Residual Sugar.
  • DEMYSTIFYING PROCEDURE~  ~Checking Out the Legs In Your Wine Glass.~
    • Don’t Ignore the Legs On Your Glass, But Don’t Make Too Much of Them Either.   Legs Are There In the Wine to Give You a Set of Clues as to What’s Going On In Your Wine.  The Possibility of a High Alcohol Wine, or One Which Has a High Extraction Level, Elevated Glycerin or Residual Sugar.

5) RIM VARIATION As Wine Ages Density of Color, Pigments and Tannins Diminishes and Lighter Color Around Rim of Glass Becomes More Prevalent Showing Colors of Orange, Brown, Brick.

  • Rim Variation Scale Yes   |   No   |   Watery   |   Pink
  • Rim Variation Descriptors Fits Into, Consistent to Edge, Meniscus, Donut, Core, Rim

**Refer to BIBLIOGRAPHY/ Sources For Details On Scholarly Works Referenced.