What the heck is Orange Wine?

Posted by David Bowley on

You might have noticed a new kid on the sommeliers block;
orange wine.

What is it?
Whose drinking it?
What does this wizardry taste like and should we all be pouring the pink down the sink this summer in favour of Orange?

Seen popping up in hipster establishments and fine dining across Australia, orange wine might be the new black. And no, I’m not talking about wine made from oranges. 

The orange wine I’m talking about is a shade different.

Orange wine is actually a white wine made in a red wine style. 
Imagine white wine and red wine had a baby. Nawwww. And in that baby making process, instead of taking the skins of the white grapes out of the juice the skins are left in contact with the juice for an extended period of time, sometimes up to a year!

This prolonged skin contact gives orange wine a ramped up dryness, structure and tannin (that puckering feeling) when compared to traditional wine.

It also gives it a unique colour. From pale gold to amber. And the taste? Not quite red, and not quite white. It has the lightness of a white wine but the puckering mouth feel and texture of a red. Don’t expect to taste something like chardonnay, or pinot noir.
Expect weird but wonderful.

Serving temperature is key for orange wine. Below room-temp but you don't want it straight from the fridge. Aim for 10 degrees. 

Orange wine is also the perfect partner with loads of amazing cuisine. Funky cheeses, slow cooked pork and anything involving walnuts are a great place to start. 

Winemakers in France and Georgia have been making orange wine for ages and the best known wines from their best producers are iconic amongst wine nerds. 
Over the last 5 years this style of wine is being emulated by many modern winemakers, including several here in Australia.

So where can you find it?
Most independent wine specialist will stock examples from Australia, France & Georgia. 
Check out our stockists page for a list. 

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In a funny irony, winemakers who make orange wine and sell it as orange wine are getting into trouble with winemakers in Orange (NSW).

Because it is a registered grape growing region, the name Orange is protected under Australian Wine Law, so calling it an orange wine when it is not made from the Orange region is a crime! An interesting twist of linguistics...

Luckily, our friends at Swinging Bridge (Orange NSW) have made an orange wine from Orange. Well known for his sense of humour, Winemaker Tom Ward calls it Amber Wine. 

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