What is orange wine?

Orange wine, made exclusively from white grapes, is also called “skin-contact” white; a clue to the origin of this orange color coming precisely from the maceration of the skins with grape juice. Orange wine is therefore a white wine vinified like a red!

While for the majority of modern white wines, the grapes are directly pressed, those used for orange (and red) wine macerate with the skin, seeds, and sometimes stems, for a duration ranging from several days to several months. This maceration, this contact with the solid parts of the grape, gives white wine its orange color.


Contrary to what’s often heard, orange wine is not a new trend. It’s an ancient practice, with its modern revival dating back to the 1990s, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, specifically in its cross-border area with Slovenia. The major winemakers behind this revival are Slovens: Gravner, Radikon, and Vodopivec. Since then, many wine producers have followed in their footsteps… including Caaaaaaat!

So, the first white wines were orange wines. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when they appeared, as it seems these wines existed even before writing (which goes to show how far from a new trend this is). However, it’s likely that the origin of orange wine can be traced back to Georgia – known for its terracotta amphora winemaking (qvevri), still practiced today – and then integrated into the winemaking methods of Antiquity. During this period, wine preservation was achieved through the addition of exogenous materials (pine resin, honey…) and/or prolonged maceration to extract the famous polyphenols, powerful antioxidants, from the grapes.


It’s not by chance that orange wine is reborn in the realm of natural wines. Tradition is alive, in perpetual motion. It accompanies societal changes, the desire for change in new generations ready to act for their well-being and that of their environment, even in the realm of pleasure.

If you want to taste one of the many examples of orange wine, start with O.G. Caaaaaaat; O.G. for “orange,” O.G. for “Original Gangsta,” because you now know that orange wine is the O.G. of white wines… and if you still don’t understand what we’re talking about with this O.G. story, go listen to Ice-T’s album released in 1991.

To learn more about orange wines, taste them at your favorite wine shops and wine bars!