What the Heck is Orange Wine?

Put simply, orange wine is a white wine made like a red wine. White wine never makes contact with its grapes’ skins. Orange wine is white wine fermented with the skins.

Depending on how long the juice ferments with the skins – anywhere from a few hours to several months – these wines can range in color from straw to golden to amber to bright orange.

The two wines on the left are orange wines, while the one on the right is a Sauvignon Blanc. Can you see the difference in color?

Any white wine grape can be used to make orange wine, and it is usually made with a natural process that uses little to no additives. Because of this, orange wines often have a sour taste and a little nuttiness from oxidation.

Orange wine also has a bigger body and more tannins than white wine, but with the same acidity, so it pairs well with white fish and salty cheese, but it can also stand up to complex dishes, including those rich in butter and fat.

I had to try orange wine for myself, so at Parigo they were nice enough to give us tastes of two different varietals from their menu – Bizzaro, which was lighter, and Ambyth, which was more robust.

The Bizzaro was actually quite pleasant and a nice change from a typical white wine, without being too overwhelming. The Ambyth was a little more shocking to the nose and to the palate.


But after the first few sips, it was actually really delicious! It was reminiscent of a sour beer with wine characteristics I know and love. I’m definitely planning to go back to Parigo and try the full orange wine flight.


Have you ever tried orange wine? What did you think?


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“What wine goes with Captain Crunch?”
― George Carlin


Bon Appetit
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Wine Folly



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