People have been making wine of thousands of years, but in only three colors – red, white and rose. But not anymore. Spanish companies have come up with ways to make all-natural wines in pretty much any color imaginable, from vibrant blue to green and even pink.
It all started last year, when Spanish startup Gïk unveiled the world’s first blue wine. They spent two years working with scientists at the University of the Basque Country and food researchers at Azti Tecnecalia trying to use anthocyanin, a natural pigment in the grapes’ skin, in order to manipulate the color of wine. It became a great commercial success, with the company reporting in January that it had sold over 100,000 bottles in under six months. But competition is ramping up, as other Spanish wineries are using similar technology to create all kinds of unusually-colored wines.
Bodega Santa Margarita, in Caudete, Spain, offers different shades of blue wine, as well as green, orange and pink wines, as part of its “Passion” line. They are already a big hit in several European markets, like the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. They also use anthocyanin for their Passion Blue wines, but it’s not clear how they make their wines orange and pink. If I had to guess, they are combination of different wines and the added grape skin pigment. One thing is for sure, they are completely natural.
“The last few weeks the wine has been flying out the doors,” Vincent Janssen, a Dutch wine importer, told Share-a-Bottle. “We also had to get used to the idea, but that color appears to have a real value to people. It looks different and the wine is good too.”
Bodegas y Viñedos Amaya also mixes tradition and innovation to create what it calls “tecnovinos”. So far they have a collection of bright red, yellow and green wines, made from a variety of Spanish grapes.
All these winemakers are relying on people’s curiosity to reach a whole new customer base, as well as change the way the world thinks about wine. But, apparently, lawmakers don’t like change very much.
Earlier this year, Gïk announced that Spanish authorities had forbidden them to sell their blue drink as wine, because it’s the wrong color. There is no category for blue wine, so even though it is 100% wine, Gïk was forced to relabel the bottles and sell its product as part of the “other alcoholic drinks” category.
“In order to continue selling, we have been forced to stop labeling Gik as a wine. Instead, we had to label it as a bastard category named ‘Other alcoholic drinks’. The main reason? There’s not a category for a blue wine, as there is no historic background for anything similar,” Gïk wrote in a statement. We had to change the composition to 99 per cent wine and 1 per cent grape to adapt the product to the current legislation.”
Despite such hurdles, it’s unlikely that the wine color revolution will be stopped. People are drawn to unusual colors like blue and pink, even if it does make the wines look more like energy drinks, and most of them don’t really care about technical details like the category the wines are being sold in.