Published on June 21st, 2018

Orange Wine for Beginners

[photo credit: winesearcher]

You’ve heard of red, white and rose, but what about orange wine? The trend that swept the nation a few years ago (and is just now hitting the Midwest with gusto) is actually an ancient winemaking style that proves what’s old is new again.


It’s simple to explain, but complex in flavor profiles. Basically, it’s a white wine made like a red wine, ie- with skins. Typically, when winemakers make white wine, they press the juice out and discard the skins, because they don’t need them for color or flavor (like they do with red wines). For orange wine, you can take a grape like Pinot Grigio, which is slightly pinkish gray, and make it with its skins like a red wine and get an orangish-colored Pinot Grigio. In the old days, all wines were made the same: take a bunch of grapes (all colors of the rainbow), throw them in amphora (clay vessels) wait a month or so and viola, wine.  Now of course, winemaking is a bit more technical, but there are some intrepid winemakers copying this romantic and hands-off approach.


Interested in this style? Here are a few of our top picks available at DEP’s.

Le Vigne Zamo ‘Orange’ Pinot Grigio $21.99

The Pinot Grigio vinified in this way is a deep, almost pinkish, onionskin. The nose reveals all of Pinot Grigio’s varietal fruit and flower aromatics mingling with maturation-derived notes of yeast and crusty bread.


Paolo Bea ‘Arboreus’ Trebbiano, Italy $46.99

The wine is left in contact with the skins for up to three weeks or more and is then aged in stainless steel tanks for at least two years prior to bottling. Sulfur is never added.



Radikon ‘Jakot’ Tocai Fruillano, Italy  $40.99

The Radikon winery is located in the town of Oslavia in the Isonzo zone of Friuli, near the border of Slovenia. t macerates with the skins for a month—however long it takes to reach total dryness–with no temperature control and no sulfur. The wine is racked and aged on its lees in huge Slavonian oak casks (25-35-hectoliter) for 3-4 years, racked twice a year. The wine is then bottled without sulfur and without filtration