For a few years now, Ontario vintners have been experimenting with an ancient Georgian wine making technique that leaves their wines orange.
Yes, you read that right. Orange wine.
Orange wine, for lack of a better description, is a white wine made like a red, with skins and juice fermented together. Most whites today are made with little or no skin contact. For orange wine, golden pigments from the skins leach into the juice over time, and when coupled with exposure to air — it turns the wine anything from a light copper to a rich orange.
This kind of wine making has been practiced in Georgia for at least 8,000 years; and recently, the method recently earned a place on UNESCO�s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In Ontario, it was Fielding Estates that first tried making orange wine with viognier grapes. They’ve since sold out and not made it again because, unfortunately, making wine in this fashion in Ontario requires a %100 rot free harvest.
A few years later, Stanners Vineyards was not far behind and then we read about John Szabo and Norm Hardie experimenting with orange wine. Both were in such small batches, that we were never able to get out hands on a bottle.
It wasn’t until a Terroir Symposium party years later that we finally got to try this unique style of wine thanks to Southbrook Vineyards.
The wine was so special. Wild fermented, a rich orange colour — like tea earl grey with lemon. It taste similar with citrus notes, bergamot and a nice yeasty richness. Like all of Southbrook’s wines, it’s organic and biodynamic — and sold out in a few short weeks.
We were distraught. Distraught until last week we heard they are making more!
Starting Saturday, January 23rd you’ll be able to buy in their wine shop, at farmer’s markets and online. Guess this calls for a road trip!