What is Orange Wine and Why Should You Buy It?

by Sam Kimball
Lately, there has been a big upswing in folks who drink “orange wines” and we feel it’s important to discuss this idea.

Obviously, you don’t just look at a bartender and just order a glass of red wine (unless it’s house) but you may classify yourself as someone who “only drinks red wine.”

See, the reality is that the color of the wine is made by the color of the grapes- when it comes to red, white, or rosé.

But orange wine is obviously not made from orange grapes.

Okay, so for the most part, when you think about wines in basic categories, and those categories are colors. Obviously, you don’t just look at a bartender and just order a glass of red wine (unless it’s house) but you may classify yourself as someone who “only drinks red wine.” We’re equal opportunity wine drinkers but we do understand why you may lean one way or the other.

Lately, there has been a big upswing in folks who drink “orange wines” and we feel it’s important to discuss this idea. See, the reality is that the color of the wine is made by the color of the grapes- when it comes to red, white, or rosé. Orange wine is obviously not made from orange grapes.

So what is it? Orange wine is a wine made by fermenting the juice with the actual skin of the white grapes, just like a red wine does, which takes on an orange color. This is called skin-contact wine and although it uses the same method as red wine fermentation, the term is only used in reference to white wines. It adds a slightly bitter, tannic quality that you don’t usually find in white wines but is similar to the features of a red wine.

The other important factor to note about orange wine is that it is a totally natural wine which means it will have a different flavor than a wine made from the same grape without using the skins.

It’s important to remember that the shade of orange isn’t universal. Just like with red wines, different grapes produce different shades, and therefore you may have a preference to some over others. We’re not used to this with white wines- the colors hardly differ so we go by grape and taste. When trying orange wines, use your palate rather than your eyes to determine if you like the flavor profile.

We are lucky to have a handful of New York wineries that are producing some gorgeous orange wines, so you can head right to the tasting room if you want to learn more!

Channing Daughters Winery

Red Hook Winery

Anthony Nappa Wines



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