The Future Is Orange

Orange Wine? No, it isn't made from oranges....


Orange wines, commonly referred to as skin-contact wines, are having a huge uprising in Australia right now. Most of the cool hipster wine bars will have at least one on their list, and they’re becoming more common in retail stores, too. 

People either love them or they hate them. But what exactly are they? No, they’re not made from oranges. To get their namesake colour, the winemaker will leave the white grape juice in contact with their skins anywhere from a few days, to months, and even years in some cases. This isn’t regular practice for white wines (the skins, seeds & stems are usually removed before fermentation). The result is a wine that’s generally more textural and tannic, and more rich and complex than a typical white.

Orange wines aren’t a new phenomenon. Traditionally, they’ve been produced for hundreds and hundreds of years, and they were integral to ancient winemaking cultures in places like Georgia & Slovenia. But they’re certainly seeing a resurgence here as younger consumers find a taste for unusual and “non-traditional” wines, and winemakers continue to experiment in the winery. 

In Australia, orange wines are typically made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes or other aromatic white grapes, and sometimes you’ll find blends of three or more varieties, just to keep it interesting.