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Tank Garage Winery

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Tank Garage Winery
 
September 30, 2020 | Tank Garage Winery

What the hell is an orange wine?

dude sitting naked with wine bottle

One of the most satisfying things we get to do at the garage giving people their first taste of "orange" wine. While the orange wine movement is often attributed to the so-called "hipster" wine movement, it's actually an OG winemaking technique that is thousands of years old.

First thing's first, these wines aren't made from oranges, they are made from grapes. The term "orange" wine comes from the warmer hues of color extracted through skin-contact during fermentation. And having made several of these wines over the past 6 years, the color can range from dark yellow to Sunkist soda orange and dark copper.

So why is it orange? Good question. But let's start by talking about red wine. The reason red wines are indeed red in color is that we press red grapes and let the juice sit on the red grape skins for a certain amount of time, where they extract color. Now with white wines, traditionally we pick white grapes and only let the juice and the grape skins have limited contact to preserve lighter colors and produce crisper wines. With orange wines, all we do is use white grapes and ferment them like red wine, allowing the white juice to sit on the skins for 5-21 days before the final pressing. This allows the juice to extract color from the white grape skins which typically produce a darker, oranger wine.

skin contact grapes in vessel hatch

See, not that complicated. But we think these wines are due a little more credit. Firstly, the wine is fucking ORANGE in color. How cool is that? Secondly, we find that our orange wines have these amazing tropical and floral aromas unlike any we have smelled in traditional white wines. The flavors get even more interesting, creating richer wines with tastes ranging from banana laughy-taffy to creamsicle and pineapple. We've worked with several varieties like Vermentino, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Trousseau Gris, and Bourboulenc, and continue to find new flavors and textures.

orange wine next to oil gan

We like to think of our orange wines as more versatile cousins to Rosé. Orange wines pair well with everything from sushi, to curries, and dessert. We like to serve them chilled, but they can also show more complexity at room temperature. Frankly, we're surprised more wineries don't make them.

Lastly, there's a little bit of a debate whether orange wines deserve their own category of classification versus just saying they are skin-fermented white wines. Honestly? Who gives a fuck. Just enjoy 'em for what they are: delicious wines.

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