Curious About Orange Wine? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Anna Monette Roberts

There's red, white, and Rosé wines, but have you heard about orange wine? Orange wine involves a very specific process of wine-making that involves fermenting the juice, skins, and seeds of white wine grapes all together in a cement or ceramic vessel for several days and up to a year. Due to the oxidation and naturally occurring fermentation, the resulting wine takes on a bright orange hue, cloudy appearance, and tart, sour flavor (sometimes slightly effervescent like beer).

A British wine importer named David Harvey (from Raeburn Fine Wine) came up with the English term, but this style of wine-making is ancient and dates back to more than 5,000 years ago in the country of Georgia (north of Turkey and Armenia). Nowadays, orange wine is commonly made in Italy (called Ramato, which means "auburn" in Italian), but nearly every wine-making region of the world is making orange wine, including Slovenia, the US, Australia, France, South Africa, and more.

My first experience with sour wine was at a restaurant in LA a few years ago. To me, the wine tasted most like a sour beer. The tannic bitterness shocked my taste buds, but it made for slow sipping and a great palate cleanser, thanks to the slightly foamy consistency. If you like kombucha or the taste of fermented foods (like sauerkraut), give it a try!


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