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What is Orange Wine?

Bottle of Natural Wine, Scotty Boy Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

We get this question a lot. My dad asked me how in the world they make wine from oranges (true story). Honestly, no judgement because when I first heard of orange wine I wasn’t so sure myself. Despite its name, orange wine isn’t made from oranges, it's made from...wait for it...grapes. It's also called amber wine, skin-fermented white wine or skin-contact white wine.

The birthplace of wine is thought to be Georgia, a small country (not "we on the grind- in Georgia" that Ludacris was talking about, but we'll cover that in a different blog) nestled between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Wine scholars believe orange wine was first made in Georgia about 8,000 years ago. 

So, how is orange wine made?

For starters, it comes from white wine grapes, but mimics the process of making red wine. Grape skins are left to make contact with the pressed wine for days or months during fermentation. Unlike white wine which removes the skins quickly after the grapes are crushed. The contact with grape skins is what gives orange and red wine its color, texture and flavor profile. Orange wine can range in color from pale yellow to pink-orange, depending on how long the grape skins are left to ferment with the wine juice.

What does orange wine taste like?

Orange wine can vary in flavor because it’s made from a variety of different white grapes, but we do taste some apricot and tea-like flavors. Orange wine has more tannins (what leaves that dry feeling in your mouth) than white wine which means the flavor is more complex and very aromatic. The more time the grape skins spend with the wine juice, the more personality and rich flavor is produced. Orange wine is more robust than white wine and we prefer it with food more than white wine (Tip: we like to serve orange wine with spicy Indian or spicy Mexican food). You can also serve it a bit warmer than you would a chilled white wine (it brings out more personality in the wine). It can be served any time of day - it's always appropriate to drink wine and we believe there are no rules.

Georgia, Slovenia and Italy are amongst the well-known orange wine making countries. South Africa and Australia are making some really nice orange wines and in the U.S., wine makers are starting to produce a lot of natural orange wines. Feel free to check our orange wine collection here.

All of the orange wines we offer are made with organic grapes and without chemicals added in the winemaking process.

We suggest experimenting now and finding your favorite so you're ready for Natural Orange Wine Day on October 6th