What is orange wine and why should we care about it?

What is orange wine and why should we care about it?

The chances are, you’ve heard of orange wine. It’s become a Big Deal in the last few years, moving from relative obscurity into nearly every decent wine bar and shop in Europe.

But should you care? Should you try it? And what is it?

We’re here to answer all your questions along with recommendations for some of our favourite orange wines at GoNature Wines.


Contrary to popular belief, orange wine is not made from oranges

It is in fact a white wine made like a red.

White wine is normally made by pressing the juice from white grapes, discarding the skins and fermenting just the juice. Red wine is made from red grapes by macerating the juice together with the skins during fermentation because the skin is where red wine gets its colour.

Orange wine is made from white grapes macerated with their skins during fermentation for anything from a few days to months. White grapes still have colour and tannin in their skins which leaches into the juice turning it “orange.”


Not all orange wines are orange

Different grape varieties have different levels of pigment. Some will extract a lot of colour and turn the wine bright orange whilst others will look more like golden yellow. This is why you’ll also see orange wine being called “macerated” wine or “skin contact” wine.


Why should you care about orange wine?

First, orange wines taste amazing. They’re completely different from conventionally made white wines because the maceration doesn’t only lend colour, it lends structure and flavours too. The wine might be more drying in the mouth – much like some red wines. The flavour can be anything from floral to spicy to herby to fruity.

Second, orange wine is a fascinating category because it’s ancient. Until the last 100 years or so – when we had the technology to make white wine bright and clear – almost all white wines would have been made with skin contact. That means they account for around 7900 out of the 8000 years wine has existed.

You’re not just drinking orange wine, you’re drinking history.

Third, orange wine is extremely popular amongst organic, biodynamic and natural winemakers. Whilst not all orange wines are exclusively natural, many are, which makes them an even more exciting style of wine.


Try orange wine today

Here at GoNature Wines we have a great selection of orange wines from our biodynamic and natural wine producers. Here are some of our favourite bottles:


Château Cazebonne “Galets de Cazebonne” Bordeaux, France

It's rare to find a skin macerated - or orange - wine in Bordeaux but Jean-Baptiste Duquesne is no ordinary producer. This wine is made from a blend of Sauvignon Gris and Semillon, aged in amphora and bottled with no added sulphites. Think flavours of flambeed pineapple, peaches and orange blossom.


Joan de la Casa “Nimi Gerra”, Alicante, Spain

Organic Moscatel grapes are macerated for around 6 months which gives the wine a gorgeous orange tint. Expect aromatic flavours of elderflower, bergamot, melon and green apple.


Menti “Monte del Cuca,” Veneto, Italy

The Garganaga grape is a thin skinned variety which means this wine is more golden than orange in colour. The flavours are on the floral-citrus side – think white jasmine, Sicilian lemons and orange.

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