Okay, so you know the winemaking process for both red and white wine? If you do, skip to the second paragraph as this is just an intro to red and white winemaking!
After the winemaker has picked their grapes from the vines and those grapes are brought into the cellar for the production side of the process, they then go through a maceration period where they stay in-contact with their skins before spending X amount of time aging in whatever the vessel of choice may be. This maceration period spent in-contact with their skins gives the juice more colour and a lot of tannins, of course depending on how long the maceration period goes on for, which both supply the finished wine with more texture and structure.
Then you have conventional made white wines, which are made relatively similar only for the most part during the maceration period the grapes are removed from their skins and stems which allows the juice and then wine to appear as typically pale/lemony as possible. Some of the less corporate although still conventional wineries might allow their white grapes to macerate in-contact with the skins for a brief one or two day period for a more wholesome looking finished white wine, but that’s as outlandish as the conventional wine industry gets.
The reason we’re filling you up with all this information on red and white wine production is because orange wine, isn’t a newfound type of wine that’s made from oranges, orange wine or in better terms skin-contact wine is a collaborative type of natural wine that gets its production methods in the cellar from both the red and white wine making process’.
Orange wine is made with white grape varieties - those grapes are brought into a cellar for the production process and during the initial maceration/fermentation period before aging, they’re left in-contact with their skins for x amount of time to give the juice more colour and tannin profile, much like the red wine making process. This type of wine generally goes three different names in case you’re ever looking for it on a bar menu or online; Orange wine, Amber wine and Skin contact wine.
By now after reading this little series we’ve been running, you must have connected the dots and realised that pretty much all of the so-called ‘trends’ we seem to be discussing are heavily rooted styles and terms in the history of wine as an entire industry, not just the now popular named ‘natural wine’ history. And orange wine follows that trend as its first recorded discovery was in what’s now considered Georgia all the way back in 6000 BC, the people of that era fermented their grapes in contact with the skins in these vast clay material, egg-shaped vessels called ‘Qvevris’ which got buried under ground and what they got after x amount of time spent underground was a deep orange toned wine, the people of Georgia have continued producing wine like that to this very day!