What is Orange Wine?

It was recently brought to my attention that there is another type of wine out there.  It's called orange wine. But what exactly is this orange wine?

We are all familiar with red wine, white wine and rosé.  These are commonly produced throughout world. And, as a quick reminder, here is how they are produced:

  • Red Wine - Amazingly, the juice from a dark skinned grape is actually quite light, practically clear. But, in the making of red wine, the juice is allowed to remain in contact with the grape's dark skin during the fermentation process. With prolonged skin contact, the juice takes on the dark purple-red coloring from the pigment of the grape's dark skin.
  • White Wine - The juice from light colored (green) grape is immediately separated from the skins. The juice remains light in color throughout fermentation, but can turn a bit more golden and deeper in color when aged in oak barrels.
  • Rosé Wine - Here, like a red wine, the juice from dark skinned grapes is allowed to remain in contact with the dark skin for a relatively brief portion of the fermentation process. Then, the juice is separated from the skins, leaving it a wonderful pink color.

So, now on to orange wine.  These wines are produced using white wine grapes, but the juice remains in contact with the skin of the light colored grape during the fermentation process, just as in red wine making.  The skin contact during the fermentation process darkens the juice color to anything from a deep yellow color, an orange color, or even to a golden-brown color.  Thus, 'orange' wine.

And it's not just the color that's different in orange wines. Since the juice has had so much skin contact, these wines can take on bigger, bolder flavors and they can be quite tannic, like a red wine.

Although orange wine has been around since the beginning of wine making, the jury is still out on today's orange wines.  As for me, I think a need to do a little further 'hands-on' research on these orange wines.  I'll get back to you.  Cheers!