Despite its name, orange wine is not made from oranges. So what is it then? In a nutshell, it’s skin contact white wine or white wine made in the same way as reds. Instead of immediately racking the juice off the skins, it is left in contact which imparts tannins, flavours, and most notably, colour to the resulting wine. It’s an ancient method that dates back to the birth of winemaking in the Caucasus region, a region where this style remains a staple to this day.
Popular grapes for orange wine include Pinot Gris, Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon Blanc, and even Chardonnay. Pinot Gris, in particular, is a favourite because of its darker skin colour which gives wines a pretty rose colour.
Famous regions for orange wine include northeastern Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Slovenia (which is right across the border), and many areas across Georgia. You’ll also find it being made in Australia, California, France and many other countries worldwide.
Orange wines are a brilliant option for white wine lovers who want something a little more substantial for their meals. These wines tend to be more robust, even a little nutty and can be enjoyed with red meats, game birds, meatier fish, and spiced, bold dishes. It is excellent with cheese and is a fantastic wine to try if you’re finding yourself in a bit of a rut.
Looking to find out where you can try orange wine for yourself? A wine app can tell you which restaurants carry!