Marnie: No. Most of the grapes we grow for white wine, like chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, are green. But there are a few, like pinot grigio and gewürztraminer, that look red in the vineyard.
Buzz: If they're red, how can they make white wine?
Marnie: In white winemaking, we press the grapes right away and use only the juice, throwing away the skins. This lets us make white wine from any color grapes. After all, when we cut grapes open, they're always clear inside, no matter what color they are on the outside.
Buzz: Weird. If pinot grigio is a red grape, how come we don't see a pinot grigio red wine?
Marnie: Pinot grigio is the Italian name of a French grape called pinot gris, or gray pinot. It is a mutation of pinot noir, or black pinot, a dark purple grape that makes fine red wines. Pinot gris skins are paler - not blue-purple but a reddish color like the Red Flame grapes at the grocery store. They look pinky-purple but don't have enough color saturation to turn a wine inky red. So we toss the skins and ferment the juice into white wine.
Buzz: Mutant grapes? Great idea for my Halloween costume!
Marnie Old is Philadelphia's
highest-profile sommelier. She has
designed wine lists for restaurants
like Parc and Bar Ferdinand. Her
latest book, "Wine Secrets," is a
collection of wine advice shared by
top wine professionals. Marnie
consults for the Pennsylvania
Liquor Control Board and is an
adviser to the beverage trade.
Check out her blog at
musings are interpreted by Daily
News City Editor Gar Joseph.