The Colors of Wine Bottles

bottles come in a variety of colors, with dark green and amber being the most common choices. These colors have traditionally been selected based on the type of wine they are meant to hold. Dark green wine bottles are typically used for red wines, while amber bottles are often used for sweet white wines. Light green bottles, on the other hand, are commonly used for dry white wines.

One of the main reasons for using colored wine bottles is to limit exposure to light. Sunlight, as well as incandescent light, can have a detrimental effect on wine. Over time, exposure to light can cause the wine to break down, resulting in changes to its color, aroma, and taste. This process is known as oxidation.

Amber or brown glass is particularly effective at filtering out light. It can block up to 97-98% of the light wavelengths, providing excellent protection for the wine. However, this color of glass is rarely used outside of the Rhine region in Germany.

Glass can be produced in many different colors, but when it comes to liquid storage, the most commonly used colors are flint, green, and amber. Flint glass is transparent and colorless, while green and amber have a tint. Green glass is often used for wine bottles, as it offers some protection against light. Amber glass, on the other hand, provides the highest level of light filtration and is commonly used for bottles as well.

Interestingly, the color of glass can be altered by adding certain elements. For example, borosilicate glass can appear blue when amber, and if calcium is added, it turns into a deep yellow color.

The choice of color for wine bottles is not just for aesthetic purposes. It serves the important function of protecting the wine from light exposure, which can lead to oxidation and degradation of the wine. Dark green bottles are commonly used for red wines, amber bottles for sweet white wines, and light green bottles for dry white wines. Amber glass provides the best protection against light, but it is not widely used outside of certain regions. By understanding the importance of colored glass, wine enthusiasts can ensure that their wines are stored and preserved properly, allowing them to fully enjoy the flavors and aromas of their favorite vintages.

What Colors Do Wine Bottles Come In?

Wine bottles are available in a range of colors, including dark green, amber, and light green. These colors are not simply for aesthetic purposes; they serve specific functions and are often associated with different types of wine.

1. Dark green wine bottles: These are commonly used for red wines. The dark green color helps to block out light, which can potentially degrade the quality of the wine. Red wines, especially those that are aged, are more sensitive to light exposure. Therefore, dark green bottles offer better protection and help preserve the wine's flavor and aroma.

2. Amber wine bottles: Typically used for sweet white wines, amber bottles also provide light protection. Sweet white wines tend to be more stable and less sensitive to light compared to red wines. However, using amber bottles helps prevent any potential light damage and maintain the wine's quality.

3. Light green wine bottles: Dry white wines are often packaged in light green bottles. These bottles offer a moderate level of light protection for wines that are less sensitive to light exposure. Light green bottles are visually appealing and can help differentiate dry white wines from other types of wine.

It is important to note that while dark green, amber, and light green are the most common colors, wine bottles can also be found in other colors such as clear, blue, and even black. However, these alternative colors are less common and are typically used for specific marketing or branding purposes rather than for functional reasons.

colors of wine bottles

Why Are Wine Bottles Different Colors?

Wine bottles come in different colors for various reasons, primarily to protect the wine from light exposure. Here are the key factors behind the use of colored wine bottles:

1. Light Protection: Colored glass helps limit the amount of light that reaches the wine inside the bottle. Sunlight and certain types of artificial light, such as incandescent light, emit ultraviolet (UV) rays that can be harmful to wine. These rays can initiate chemical reactions within the wine, leading to the breakdown of organic compounds and the deterioration of its quality. By using colored bottles, winemakers can reduce the amount of light that penetrates the glass and minimize the risk of light-induced damage.

2. UV Ray Filtering: Different colored glass bottles have varying degrees of UV ray filtering capabilities. Green glass, for instance, provides moderate UV protection, while amber or brown glass offers greater UV absorption. This means that darker colored bottles can effectively shield wine from a wider range of harmful light wavelengths.

3. Preservation of Aromas: Light exposure can also affect the aroma of wine. Ultraviolet light can break down certain compounds responsible for the wine's distinct aromas, leading to a loss of fragrance and complexity. By using colored bottles, winemakers can help preserve the delicate aromatic characteristics of the wine.

4. Oxidation Prevention: Exposure to light can lead to oxidation in wine. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs when wine comes into contact with oxygen. This process can alter the color, flavor, and texture of the wine, making it less enjoyable to drink. Colored bottles act as a barrier, reducing the amount of oxygen that enters the bottle and slowing down the oxidation process.

5. Marketing and Branding: In addition to their functional purpose, the color of wine bottles can also serve as a marketing tool. Different colors can evoke different emotions and attract consumers with specific preferences. For example, green bottles are commonly associated with white wines, while dark-colored bottles are often used for red wines. The choice of bottle color can help winemakers differentiate their products and establish a unique brand identity.

Colored wine bottles are primarily used to protect wine from light exposure, prevent oxidation, preserve aromas, and maintain the overall quality of the wine. The specific color of the bottle chosen can also play a role in marketing and branding strategies.


The choice of color for wine bottles serves a practical purpose in preserving the quality of the wine inside. Dark green bottles are typically used for red wines, as they offer the best protection against light exposure. This is important because sunlight and other types of light can cause the wine to degrade and lose its color, aroma, and taste. Amber bottles, on the other hand, are commonly used for sweet white wines, providing a similar level of protection. Light green bottles are often chosen for dry white wines.

While amber glass offers the highest level of light filtration, it is not commonly used outside of the Rhine region in Germany. The most widely used colors for wine bottles are dark green and amber, which filter out a significant percentage of light wavelengths.

The color of the glass plays a crucial role in preserving the quality of wine by limiting light exposure. By selecting the appropriate color bottle for each type of wine, winemakers can ensure that their products maintain their desired attributes and flavors, providing an enjoyable drinking experience for consumers.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.