Have you heard about orange wine or maybe even tried it? This is a style of wine that’s come back on the scene in recent years. If you are looking for a beverage that has the best of both white and red wines, then orange wine may be your jam. It has the acidity of white wine with the body and richness of a red.
What is Orange Wine?
The name is a bit of a misnomer because it’s not made with oranges. A better term for this type of wine is skin-contact. This is because the wine is made using white grapes that stay in contact with the skins and seeds during fermentation. It’s the skins that give the wine it’s orange color.
Typically, white wine is produced by fermenting juice from white grapes without their skins and seeds. This results in a color range of pale straw to deep gold. Orange wine is produced like red wine with the juice, skins, and seeds all fermenting together. The skins of red grapes add red color to the wine, and the skins of white grapes add an orange or amber hue to the wine.
The Effects of Skin Contact Wine
The wine color for orange wine actually ranges from golden to amber to deep orange, depending on how long the juice stays on the skins. This can span anywhere from a few hours to a few days to several months.
The skins and seeds not only give the wine its orange color, they also add tannin to the wine. Tannin gives a drying mouthfeel in wine. This method gives the wine a fuller body and richer flavor than a typical white wine.
Grapes Used in Orange Wine
Producers use a variety of white grapes to make skin-contact wine. This means the wine flavors can vary quite a bit. However, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Ribolla Gialla are often used to make skin contact wine.
Origins of Orange Wine
Orange wine has its roots in Northern Italy, Georgia (not the state), and Slovenia where they ferment the wine juice, skins, and seeds in a clay vessel that is buried in the ground. It’s an ancient method used for producing skin contact wine.