Grape skin wine is commonly referred to as orange wine. This type of wine is also known as skin-contact white wine, skin-fermented white wine, or amber wine. These names all describe the same process of winemaking, where the grape skins are not removed during fermentation, as is typically done with white wine production.
The term “orange wine” has gained popularity in recent years, as it helps to differentiate this style of wine from traditional white wines. The name is derived from the color that the wine often takes on due to extended contact with the grape skins. Rather than the pale yellow or green hues typically associated with white wine, orange wines can range from a light amber to a deep orange color.
The process of making orange wine involves allowing the grape skins to macerate, or soak, in the juice for an extended period of time. This can range from a few days to several months, depending on the desired flavor profile and intensity. During this time, the grape skins impart color, tannins, and additional flavors to the wine.
Orange wines can be made from a variety of white wine grapes, including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc, among others. The choice of grape variety will influence the final flavor profile of the wine, as different grapes have different levels of acidity, sweetness, and aromatic compounds.
The resulting orange wine is often described as having a more complex and textured flavor profile compared to traditional white wines. It can have a range of flavors, including dried fruits, nuts, honey, and spices. The extended contact with the grape skins also adds tannins, which can give the wine a slightly astringent or grippy mouthfeel.
Orange wine has a long history, with its origins dating back thousands of years to winemaking traditions in Georgia and northeastern Italy. However, it has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, particularly among those seeking out unique and artisanal wines. It has gained a reputation as a “natural” or “minimal intervention” style of winemaking, as it often involves organic or biodynamic farming practices and little to no added sulfites.
As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the opportunity to taste and explore a wide range of orange wines. Each one is unique and offers a different experience. I find that orange wines can be quite versatile when it comes to food pairings, as their complex flavors and textures can complement a variety of dishes. They can be particularly well-suited to richer, more savory dishes, such as roasted meats, aged cheeses, and rustic vegetable dishes.
Grape skin wine is commonly known as orange wine. This style of wine is made by allowing the grape skins to remain in contact with the juice during fermentation, resulting in a wine with a distinct color and flavor profile. Orange wines can be made from various white wine grape varieties and offer a complex and textured drinking experience. Their rise in popularity is a testament to the unique and artisanal qualities they bring to the world of wine.