Checking my calender, I saw that October 6th is Orange Wine Day. What? I never heard of this before. Thus, I started my quest to find out just what is orange wine, anyway?
Is this some new trend? Actually, orange wine first appeared between 5000-8000 years ago in the Caucasus region, modern day Georgia. (I have read several discrepancies with the dates, so I am giving you a range.)
Does orange wine have orange in it?
I discovered that orange wine gets its name from its color. No oranges were hurt making this wine. But if it’s not made with oranges, what is orange wine made from?
What makes orange wine orange?
Wines get their color from compounds in the grape skins. In general, juices that come in contact with the skins become red wines. While grapes that don’t come into contact with skins become white wines.
Also known as skin contact white wine, orange wine gets its color from contact with grape skins. Unlike typical white wines, producers do not remove the skins when making orange wine. The skins stay in contact with the white wine grapes for days or months during fermentation.
Then why isn’t it red? The longer the contact with the skins, the darker the color. Red wine has longer contact with skins.
Orange wine vs. Rose: polar opposites?
Producers make rose or blush wines with grapes used for red wines. However blush wines have less skin contact during wine production than red wines. This gives them a pink hue instead of deep red.
On the other hand, wine makers create orange wine using white wine grapes. They then allow skin contact, which imparts the darker orange color, rather than gold or pale yellow.
What does orange wine taste like?
Since the wine comes in contact with the skins, it contains tannins. You may also notice a mild taste of peaches, tea, or even honey. However, this is not a sweet wine. The flavor is sometimes compared with that of a sour fruit beer. It is very dry, full of tannins, and very intense.
You can pair this with the same foods you would pair with white wines. Or pair it with dishes that contain spices and nutty flavors.
What is orange wine? FAQs
Does orange wine go in the fridge? Yes. You should serve it at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This wine temperature is warmer than for most white wines. The warmer temperature releases the flavors as it loses its chill. You should let it breathe for about 15-30 minutes before drinking due to the tannins.
What is the alcohol content of orange wine? These wines have a lower alcohol content, around 10%.
Is orange wine healthy? Although orange wines contain less antioxidants than red wine, they still have health benefits when drank in moderation. According to Healthline, wine may slow down mental decline and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Does orange wine contain sulfites? Most growers use minimal intervention when creating orange wines. That means they use little or no additives, creating a more natural wine.
What do we think of orange wine?
We had a hard time finding an orange wine at our local wine store. However, we ended up with Naken an organic wine from Austria.
According to the label it was made with 90% Pinot Gris and 10% Muskateller grapes. The winemakers exposed the juices to the skins over several days.
I was surprised that it was slightly bubbly like a sparkling wine. It was also lighter than I expected. It was crisp and citrus, similar to a Pinot Grigio. I give it a thumbs up!
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Donna Emperador is a creative blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and wine. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time traveling and making wine culture easier to understand for readers.