Hello, bonjour, and welcome to your new Bonner Private Wine video. We've talked about the different colors of wines in the past in this video series. And, you know, wine is generally considered to come in three different colors; rosé, white and red. Right. But, yes, there is a fourth color a few wines come in and it's not blue. I mean, some wines come as blue, but that's not a natural color.

I'm talking more about, rather, orange wine. Yes, orange wine. What is orange wine if it's not made from oranges? Is it? How do you even get an orange wine from grapes? Let’s explain.


How Is Orange Wine Made?

Yes. Orange wine, as odd as the color may look, is still made from grapes. It's amazing the variety of styles you can make with just fermented grapes. I find it fascinating, isn't it? Orange wine is essentially a white wine made from white grapes, but made just like a red wine, that is to say, fermented all together with the grape skins in the fermentation vessel.

Conventional white wine is made by pressing the grapes before fermentation to extract the clear white juice that is then fermented by the yeasts for orange wine. However, you'd put the entire grapes in the fermentation vessel and then ferment the whole thing all together. This results in the juice extracting a lot more pigments and tannins from the grape skins because pigments and tannins are in the skins and those oxidize slightly during the maturation process.

And eventually the wine displays this unusual orange color from all those pigments and tannins. It sometimes has a more yellowish amber color or golden copper hues you call it whatever you like, summarized as orange wine. 

What Does Orange Wine Taste Like?

And when you taste your first orange wine — I unfortunately don't have any wine to feature here, and I don't even have B-roll footage to show you all that much, but I found a few good images online — I definitely recommend trying an orange wine to see if you like it. 

Now get ready when you have your first one to get a very unusual tasting experience. It's got flavors that are very different from virtually anything else that you've ever tasted before. Orange wines are usually dry, so don't expect something sweet like an orange juice; it's dry. And because it's got a fair amount of tannins and it’s more like a red wine than a white wine, it usually tastes a little bitter as well. Tangy and a little salty as well, you’ll feel that. 

Around this unusual, rather savory core of flavors are plenty of aromas and notes of foods because the wine got plenty of flavors from the grape skins from such prolonged skin contact. Notes of dried orange, yes, limoncello, liqueur, apricot, bitter juniper as well. Lots of nuttiness as well. Honey wax, macadamia nuts, walnuts, a palate of unusual aromas all mixed together, a nutty tanginess that often comes with an unusually oily texture as well. 

Strange, or at least very curious, if not odd, to taste. But often absolutely delicious. Once you've passed the element of surprise, serve it rather cool to amplify the fruitiness and minimize the bitterness and you're in for a truly rare tasting experience. Some hate it, some absolutely love it. 

I've personally loved most of the orange wines that I've tried before. Absolutely love that tangy, savory style, although they do come in different variations depending on the grapes they were made from, how oxidized they are, how long they've been matured for. They do come in a variety of flavor profiles, but I've loved most of them for sure.

Orange Wine Renaissance

And that style of winemaking with fermentation on skins for white grapes was actually very common in ancient times when they would process white grapes just the way they would process red grapes. Some regions in Europe had in fact kept this old tradition across the centuries. But they were obscure areas like in Georgia, in Europe, Georgia, Europe, Slovenia, or small parts of Italy.

The rest of the world had just completely forgotten about this style. It's only over the past ten or 15 years following the resurgence of natural wines, organic wines, these type of more ancient tradition of making wine that more winemakers have rediscovered these old way of crafting white wines. Orange wine has now become quite trendy in wine bars and fancy restaurants that are keen to offer different tasting experiences.

A lot of good wine shops also stock an orange wine or two somewhere on their shelves. So why not try one, ask and get a chance to taste and experience this unique flavor profile? 

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you soon in the wonderful world of wine. Cheers.

Bonner Private Wine Partnership