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What is Orange Wine

The term "orange wine" was coined in 2004, but the process of making it - called "karvisperi ghvino" - dates back thousands of years in the country of Georgia.

Do you ever feel like you're stuck in a wine rut? Are you tired of the same old whites and reds?

Well, if you are, it's time to shake things up and introduce yourself to some orange wine. Trust me, this is not your average glass of vino. In this post, we'll dive deep into the origins of orange wine and explore its current popularity. So grab your glass, and let's get started!

Glass of Orange Wine

Understanding Orange Wine

Before we jump in, let's make sure we're all on the same page. What exactly is orange wine?

No, it's not a citrus-flavored concoction derived from oranges.

It's a wine made from white grapes that have been left in contact with their skins during the fermentation process.

Yes, you read that right. We're talking about white grapes with the skin still intact, giving the wine its distinct orange hue.

We've talked a lot about the differences between white and red wine and how white wine grapes are pressed and then fermented, while black grapes go through fermentation before being pressed.

And let me tell you, the taste is as unique as its color. Think of a white wine's lightness combined with the tannic structure of a red wine. It's a flavor explosion!

The Unique Winemaking Process

So, how do winemakers produce this style of wine? It's pretty simple. After harvesting the white grapes, winemakers leave and allow contact with grape skins for an extended period. Depending on the desired flavor profile, this process can last anywhere from a few days to several months. The longer the skin contact, the more tannins, texture, and complexity the wine will have.

Now, let's delve deeper into the origins. The roots of this unique style can be traced back thousands of years to the country of Georgia. Here, winemakers discovered the beauty of fermenting white grapes with their skins, creating a wine that was very unique. The Georgians were the trailblazers of this unique winemaking technique, using clay vessels (called ‘qveri’) to ferment and age their wines underground.

Underground clay pots, known as 'qveri', are filled with crushed vineyard berries.
Underground clay pots, known as 'qveri'

As the popularity of orange wine spread throughout Europe, winemakers in countries such as Italy and Slovenia began experimenting with different grape varieties and aging techniques. Each region developed its distinct style, resulting in a diverse range of orange wines with varying flavors and characteristics.

One of the most intriguing aspects of orange wine is its ability to pair well with a wide variety of foods. The tannins and structure of the wine make it a perfect match for rich and fatty dishes, such as meats and cheeses. At the same time, its acidity and citrus notes make it refreshing and enjoyable alongside lighter fare, such as seafood and salads.

When it comes to serving orange wine, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it's best enjoyed slightly chilled. This helps to bring out the wine's vibrant flavors and aromas. Additionally, orange wine benefits from a bit of aeration, so don't be afraid to give it a good swirl in the glass before taking a sip.

Modern Revival of Orange Wine

Today, orange wine is not just a niche trend but a thriving category within the wine industry. Winemakers from various regions have embraced this ancient technique, experimenting with different grape varieties and aging methods to create an eclectic range of orange wines.

White Grape + Skin Contact = Orange Wine

Its unique flavor profile sets orange wine apart from its red and white counterparts. It offers a complex combination of aromas and tastes, ranging from floral and citrus notes to earthy and nutty undertones. The extended skin contact during fermentation gives orange wine a robust structure and a pleasant tannic grip.

Orange wine's rising popularity highlights the balance between tradition and innovation.

The Rising Popularity of Orange Wine

Once considered a niche wine, orange wine has gained momentum in the wine world, intriguing a new generation of wine enthusiasts because of its lively colors, complex flavors, and richness.

Wine lovers are drawn to the unusual flavors and the interesting balance between tannins and acidity that orange wine offers. It's a fascinating departure from the traditional flavor profiles found in white or red wines and provides a unique drinking experience.

Restaurants and wine bars around the world have taken notice of this growing trend, adding orange wines to their menus. Sommeliers are excited to introduce their customers to this intriguing category and guide them through the diverse range of aromas and flavors that orange wine has to offer.

One of the reasons behind the rising popularity of orange wine is because of this remarkable versatility when it comes to food pairing. Unlike many other wines, orange wine pairs beautifully with a wide range of dishes. This adaptability makes it a favorite choice for those who are looking to elevate their dining experiences or just change up old routines.

Let's not forget the visual appeal of orange wine. It's beautiful. Its bright colors are undeniably enticing, making it an excellent subject for those who love to share their wine adventures on social media. From the amber hues to the golden shades, each glass of orange wine looks ready to be captured and shared. The rich visuals of orange wine not only enhance the overall drinking experience but also add an element of excitement and aesthetic pleasure.

Social media photo of someone holding a glass of Orange Wine.

In Conclusion

As the popularity of orange wine continues to rise, more and more winemakers are experimenting with this unique style. From traditional wine regions to newer ones, orange wine is making its mark on the wine scene across the world. With its unique flavors, versatility with food, and visual appeal, orange wine has become a favorite choice for wine enthusiasts and a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.


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