All there is to know about orange wine: The best bottles to try

If you drink wine casually, you might sleep over orange wine. For speed, orange is not included in the production of this wine. (It’s a real question that the fino experts get.) Also, orange wine is not Technically It is his own kind of wine; It is the color of wine, and can range from a dull yellow to a coppery orange to a highlighter.

Orange hues in this wine are achieved by leaving the skins of white wine grapes to soak and ferment with juice. Basically, it is a white wine made like red. Not only does this lend white wine red properties (think more tannins and a larger body), but the unique process can produce wild wines, even those that taste like sour, earthy beer.

You may also hear orange wine referred to as white wine that comes in contact with the skin. A general rule to remember: the longer contact with skin, the larger the body.

These skin-to-skin contact whites can extend wine to some new and unexpected flavors, says head bartender Morgan Harris, director of branding and marketing for the communications company. OMvino.

“The delicious aromatics are the most special part,” says Harris, who heads OMvino’s Affiliate Sommelier, a remote workforce of former restaurant professionals available to rent for digital events. He says you can have white and green tea, pine needles or sap, as well as sherry vinegar.

While orange wines have become quite bustling in recent years, appearing on natural wine lists and in wine shops, it is an ancient variety of wines.

“The birthplace of this style of wine is undoubtedly the country of Georgia, which has a long tradition of producing skin-to-skin whites in large amphora-like vessels, which are still practiced today,” Harris says.

Does orange wine interest you? Here are five bottles that the experts recommend to try.

Brash Higgins ZBO Ricca Terra Farms Zibibbo
Brash Higgins ZBO Ricca Terra Farms Zibibbo Courtesy Image

1. Brash Higgins ZBO Ricca Terra Farms Zibibbo

Gary Schuyler, wine buyer, consultant and founder of Subterranean, a consulting practice that works at the intersection of wine, food, sport, culture, and social influence, says orange wine is, somewhat unfairly, “hard to pair.” The Brash Higgins ZBO bottle, though, is a great example of a versatile orange wine, and it pairs well with a variety of dishes, including curry, Korean roast, fried fish, roast pork and more, says Schuyler. Elderly in a clay amphora and spent 180 days on its skins, the orange wine comes from the Australian McLaren Valley region, where Italian and Mediterranean varieties have flourished for generations. As a result, she has a thick nose that jumps out of glass. “It reminds me of spring and early summer with lots of white flowers, apricots, chamomile, honey, white pepper, ginger, and bread seasonings – there’s a lot going on,” says Schuyler. (For those more familiar with beer, close your eyes and you could easily smell the aroma of Belgian white beer.) But the nose is deceptive: This orange wine, Schuyler says, is completely dry on the palate. ZBO retains fruit and freshness, making it an ideal orange wine for beginners. As for tasting the notes? Schuyler says he’s picking up a burst of flavor tangerine, nectarine, and baked lemon and pear oil.


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Rossidi 'Orange' Skin-Contact Gewurztraminer
Rossidi ‘Orange’ Skin-Contact Gewurztraminer Courtesy Image

2. Rossidi “Orange” Gewurztraminer skin contact

Store in a clay bottle, this orange wine from Kristova Family Partners has a balanced, creamy and bright body. “On the nose, this wine is a bouquet of sweet pineapple, orange blossom, and freshly sprung corn with secondary notes about the end of the harvest – dried grass, hay, and raw walnuts,” says Michaela Avedisian-Cohen, bartender and events and special client manager at OMvino.


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Tenute Dettori Bianco Romangia 2018
Tenute Dettori Bianco Romangia 2018 Courtesy Image

3. Tenute Dettori Bianco Romangia 2018

This vital wine is made from Firmentino grapes and comes from the northern side of the Italian island of Sardinia, says Andrea Salaris, head sommelier with Angelini Austria. The winemakers’ vineyards face the Mediterranean and the breeze keeps the vineyards free of pests, says Salaris, who is from the region. “This allows them to work without pesticides and preserves the wine as naturally as possible,” she says. “After harvesting, they soak the grapes in the skin for five to seven days, resulting in an orange color.” Then they transfer the juice to cement tanks for a few years. “This wine is made with native yeast that leaves a strong acidity and higher alcohol content, making it a structured end product. It contains ingredients from dried fruit cloves and Mediterranean herbs with strong acidity that can chop fatty fish and white meats.


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Dila-o Rkatsiteli Mtsvani 2019
Dila-o Rkatsiteli Mtsvani 2019 Courtesy Image

4. Dila-O Rkatsiteli Mtsvane 2019

Scott Carney, lead bartender and dean of Wine Studies at Says Culinary Education Institute. He says that their tradition of fermenting wine in clay pots, or qvevri, buried in the ground dates back about 8,000 years. (With archaeological excavations continuing regularly, the claim to the oldest recognized wine-growing country has bounced back between Armenia and Georgia, as Georgia currently enjoys such recognition.) Dila-O Rkatsiteli-Mtsvane orange wine of 2019 is made from two local grapes, Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane, and is fermented and aged in an underground qvevri. “I find notes of fruit and flowers,” says Carney. “I can’t help but think of melons.”


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Lunaria Ramorou Pinot Grigio
Lunaria Ramorou Pinot Grigio Courtesy Image

5. Lunaria Ramorou, Pinot Grigio

Lunaria is an Italian producer that makes some stellar organic wines, including Pinot grigio that touches the skin which, at $ 15 a bottle, is a great patio, says Erika Weidman, director of drinks. Salt wine and time, A natural wine shop in Austin, Texas. (This wine is used in Frorange’s frozen orange wine at Salt & Time Café.) Copper-colored, Lunaria Ramoru Pinot Grigio is floral and fruity and blends well with grilled seafood and white meats.


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