Why is my wine orange?

Orange is the new red, white and rose!

orange wine
Meinklang Graupert Orange Pinot Gris (Biodynamic) (Photo; Natural Wine Freak ( @thewinestache ))

Time to take a look at this newest old trend in wine making!

It is a white wine made using the red wine technique of leaving the grapes on their skins when fermenting the juice. This process of making this wine is very natural, often nothing is added including yeast and sugar. The wine ferments the natural sugars in the grape juice. This can be done one of two ways, either the grapes are crushed with their skins and seeds then transferred to the tanks for fermentation. Or, the grapes can be placed straight into the fermentation tanks for carbonic maceration. In this process the grapes ferment whole in a carbon rich atmosphere. This process is also used in the production of Beaujolais Nouveau wine. The fermentation process on the skins in orange wine making can be any time between 4 days to one year.

The flavour profile of orange wine is very distinct, they are robust, bold and shouty with incredible sourdough, bruised apple and honey notes on the nose. The time spent on skins produces wine with sour tannic characters to taste, on the dry side and incredibly intense.

While this current trend in orange wine is new, the technique goes back a few thousand years. In Georgia early wine was produced using Qvevri, an egg shaped terracotta vessel into which the pressed grapes, their juice, skins and stalks were poured and left to ferment. The Qvevri was then sealed and buried in the ground for a period of 5-6 months before being drunk. in fact, they recently discovered the world oldest wine in Georgia, in one of the Qvevri vessels, dating to around 8,000 years ago!

Orange wine is a bit like marmite, you either love it or you hate it. Either way, you have to try it.


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