The new orange wine will officially, wines under the new category will be referred to as “skin-fermented whites” — in Ontario. Put in very simple terms when making white wine the skin from the grapes is removed in making Red the skins stay. The skins contain color pigment, phenols and tannins that would normally be considered undesirable for white wines, while for red wines skin contact and maceration is a vital part of the winemaking process that gives red wine its color, flavour, and texture. This style of wines can also be known by their colour references of having an amber or orange tinge that the base white wine receives due to its contact with the coloring pigments of the grape skins.
In Ontario winemaker Ann Sperling ( Southbrook Vineyards) is one of the leaders in producing Orange Wines. She also request the Ontario VQA to request the new category for the wine.
Orange wines most often are made from aromatic white grapes such as pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, friulano, ribolla gialla and muscat, focusing the honeyed notes, extracting the fragrance of citrus oils and exemplifying the savoury goodness
Making Orange wines is not new. In fact it is an ancient winemaking technique, these wines are common from areas with lengthy winemaking traditions like Georgia, Slovenia, Croatia and eastern Italy. The USA and France also produce Orange wine.
An Italian winemaker Josko Gravner, was one of the first to repopularize orange wines. Gravner, who is famous for returning to ancient wine-making techniques (burying a large clay vessel called an amphora for fermentation) for his white wines, began allowing his white wine grapes to sit with their skins for an astounding amount of time: three years with skins, and then an additional four years sans skin.
Ritchie Roberts of Fielding Estate in may have made Canada’s first orange wine—a 2012 viognier—albeit
In BC among the producers is Haywire,The Hatch, Laughing Stock, Little Farm, and Stag's Hallow.
Unfortunately Orange Wines are expensive.
Here is one to try
2016 40 Knots L'Orange
Schonberger and Pinot Gris fermented and aged on skins in Italian Terracotta Amphora. No intervention, just patience. When timing was perfect, grapes were pailed from Amphora and screened to stainless without pressing.
In Ontario Vineland's winemaker Brian Schmidt made his first orange wine from the 2016 vintage, a skin-fermented Chardonnay Musque .
So remember when looking for Orange wines check for Skin Ferment whites. Served slightly chilled.