Orange Wines


Vintages Feature Story

Whether you know it as orange wine, amber wine or skin-fermented white wine, this ancient style is a modern choice for summery sipping.

Vogue and cutting-edge yet based in antiquity, orange wine has taken the vinosphere by storm. A bit like white wine, a bit like red or rosé, it’s ultimately a unique style unto itself — and one that’s wonderfully suited to warm weather. 

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What is it?

Let’s get one thing out of the way: it’s made with grapes, not oranges. Orange winemaking takes white wine grapes and essentially treats them like red wine grapes in the winery, fermenting the juice with prolonged skin or lees contact to bring extra depth and flavour, along with a brassy orange or amber hue. While the resurgence of orange wine has been sparked by modern European winemakers, the method is in fact a throwback to the way in which white wines were made in ancient times. Doubling down on this throwback thinking, many modern orange wines are also made using wild rather than cultivated yeast.

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How’s it taste?

Orange wines are often reminiscent of a white wine with extra depth and a broader, more eclectic range of aromas and flavours. On top of the fruit character you’d expect from a white wine made using the same grape variety, orange wines often exhibit floral, nutty, honey and tea notes as well. The palate will typically feature fuller body and more weight than your average white wine, and it’s not uncommon for orange wines to have detectable tannins. Those orange wines made using wild yeast might also show a range of earthy, woodsy, and funky hayloft notes.

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What’s it go with?

Although they make great sippers — particularly when chilled to 12 or 13˚C on a warm day – orange wines can also be fantastic with food. Try these summery pairings:

Grilled seafood
Fish and chips
Chicken wings
Pork or veggie burgers
Veggies and hummus
Pasta salad

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