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What the orange wine?

Summer sipping is traditionally rosé all day, but orange wines have been popping up all over social media lately. And if you’re confused, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Is it red wine? Is it white wine? Is it even wine? We did some research to answer all your questions.

What the FLIK…is orange wine?

First, orange wine is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not made from oranges.

Let’s start with the basics: white wines are mostly made from white (read: green) grapes and red wines are made from red grapes. But wines get their color based on if the skins and seeds are fermented in the freshly pressed grape juice. Traditionally, white wines are pressed without skins and red wines are pressed with skins. There are, of course, exceptions to these rules.

Now, both rosé and orange wines are tinted in color because the freshly pressed white grapes are left on to macerate with their skins, in a similar process to making a red wine. The longer the skins soak, the more color is produced.

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To make orange wine, white grapes are mashed and fermented with their skins and seeds attached in a natural process that uses minimal additional additives. Because of this, orange wine tends to have a sour or tart flavor that is often compared to a fruit beer. 

Orange Wine Origins

While Instagram and recent liquor sales in the US might say orange wine is a new trend, it’s certainly not a new wine. Winemakers in Slovenia, Georgia, and Northern Italy have been making orange wine for hundreds of years.

These skin-fermented wines had a blip of popularity in the 1950s, but quickly fell out of fashion. But it looks like the Instagram-worthy wines are back. Searches for orange wines have increased by almost 500% in 2020. Perhaps sheltering in place has being more adventurous in their drinking habits.

What to Pair with Orange Wines

Thanks to their big, bold flavors, orange wines pair well with complementary big, bold flavors like curry and kimchi. Or try it with a charcuterie board with briny olives and stinky cheeses. 

Wine not your thing? Try these Blackberry Sours for something refreshing! 

*Sip responsibly* 


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