Word of the Week: Orange Wine

You’ve tried red and white, and you have likely witnessed the tidal wave of rosés that hit wine shop shelves each spring. But, have you ever tasted an “orange” wine? An orange wine is created by leaving the skins of white grapes in contact with the juice for an extended period of time beyond what a normal white wine would experience. During that time, both color and tannin are released, imparting a cloudy, amber-like hue to the wine and a distinctive chalky texture. While orange wines (also known as “skin-contact” whites) have sky-rocketed in fashion these last few years, becoming a staple of the natural wine movement and hipster wine bars across the globe, their history dates back to ancient times. The country of Georgia has likely produced orange wine since as early as 3,000 BC. Georgian winemakers continue that tradition today, fermenting their orange wines in massive clay vessels called “qvevri,” which are buried underground and sealed with beeswax. On the coast of the Adriatic Sea, vintners from Slovenia and Italy’s Friuli similarly enjoy a long history of skin-contact whites. Friulian producers such as Radikon and Gravner helped revive the style in the late 1990s, eager to explore their region’s forgotten winemaking practices. Today, hip winemakers from California to Argentina to Australia are experimenting with the technique, further widening the color spectrum in today’s wine zeitgeist.


Dinavolo Vino Bianco

Marissa A. Ross

The copper-toned “Dinavolo” smells like orange rinds withering in the sun on a wet clay tennis court, with splashes of pineapple and mango. It tastes like eating tangerines and kumquats, with sips of a sour raspberry beer (preferably from the Rare Barrel, if I must say so myself). The blend of 25% Malvasia di Candia, 25% Marsanne, 25% Ortugo, and 25% mystery varietals is melodic and fluid but gritty and gripping with a warm and citrusy tannic finish. — 6 years ago

Michael, Rick and 4 others liked this

Pheasant's Tears

Kakheti Rkatsiteli 2010

Length. Grip. Redefined. Gorgeous 2010 Rkatsiteli (qvevri) made by John Wurdeman in Georgia — 9 years ago

A liked this


Skin Fermented Carneros Chardonnay 2016

Jerae Knutson

Gorgeous and golden. Skin fermented for 101 days in concrete. Nice texture, not overly fruity, but tropical notes. This is a fantastic mid-priced Chardonnay from the Sonoma side of Carneros. — 6 years ago

Jason, Paul and 4 others liked this


Anfora Venezia Giulia Ribolla Gialla

Marc Stubblefield

2004. Dynamic and developing still. Bobs and weaves, saying just out of reach every time you think you know what it is. Savory. Grounded. — 8 years ago

Tony, Boxer and 14 others liked this

Broc Cellars

Skin Contact Roussanne 2011

This is the Broc Cellars 2011 El Dorado Vineyard Rousane orange wine. It is delightful and paired well with our traditional cold salads, late summer dinner. Soft and floral with herbal and earthy notes. Balance is fantastic and finish is medium-to-long. — 9 years ago

Maria and A liked this

Kivelstadt Cellars

Wayward Son Lovett Vineyard "Orange" Wine 2013

Mason Balistreri

Really nice, and was even better when some air got onto it. Pleasant strawberry and orange cream. Some tannins here, but the body is still lite and lifted. Cool little wine, and a perfect introduction into Orange wines. — 8 years ago

Maria and A liked this

Azienda Agricola Stanislao Radikon

"S" Slatnik Venezia Giulia Chardonnay Tocai Friulano

What. Is. Happening. Been searching for this stuff for too long! Poured it next to my family's "orange wine", same color. 3 week skin maceration like us. It smells of petroleum and warm peach (lifesavers in your car), tastes a touch of sour and the fruit softens. It is heavy like our whites, minus the higher alcohol bite. Not over priced, it's worth it. — 9 years ago

Mason, Maria and 2 others liked this