The Modern Trend Of Orange Wine

There have always been trends in the wine industry and in the summer of 2017, a new fashion of Orange Wine hit the European and American market. The British newspaper “Independent” (2017) proclaimed it the wine of the year and “New York Post” (2019) called it the “new Rosé”. Since then the popularity started growing. Wine critics doubt if it will convert into classics with time or simply disappears as any temporary fashion. This essay focuses on the idea of a trend of Orange wine. Section 1 considers the origin of its name, section 2 tells about the sensory characteristics and technology methods and section 3 concentrates on reasons and tendencies of its popularity.

The name “Orange wine” is confusing for people who are far from the industry. Generally speaking, it is considered that the wine should be made from orange or be a part of the cocktail mixed up with the fruit juice. The reality is different and the real necessity for a name appeared with the spread of the wine to the bars and restaurants. It was impossible to understand which section on the menu it should be put to and it simply converted into a specialty (Brunton, 2019). The official name of orange wine was only given in 2004. It was done by one of the famous British wine importers David Harvey (2015), whose idea was to use a different term to call this wine as it was nothing compared to any other style. According to D.Harvey (2015), these complex wines with original technology of production could not be called as simply white wines. In his interview to “Drinks Insight,” he says: “I didn’t set out to invent a word, I just used it naturally and it stuck… The name may not be ideal, but this style needs its own category. If customers order a white wine and it turns out to be this surprising dark colour, they might not be so happy”. Later his point of view spread all over media and now nearly all the online sources refer David Harvey as a person, who officially named the trend at the very beginning.

Orange wine is a very specific product with a distinct technology and quite an extravagant taste. In general, it is a white wine, which is produced with the red wine method. As one of the famous sommeliers Scott Carney says, when you taste it you get 'similarities to red wines which once were not part of the white wine scene'. Steven Graf (2017) in his article “Making Orange Wine” explains the technology of how the grapes are mashed together with the seeds and skin in a big vessel and are left there for some time. Due to this process, the wine gets its unique color and tannins. He also claims that the brightness of the color of the wine is obtained due to the special compounds existing in the white grape seeds and can differ on a palette from a golden color to orange or honey-like and even be quite dark and rusty. The intensity of the color can differ as well because of the grape skin, which can have pink or slight red shade. The vessel is kept underground in order to keep the same temperature of the wine. It is also made without any additives and is considered to be absolutely natural. One of the popular journals “Wine Folly” (2019) describes orange wine as a very structured, full-bodied wine with high tannins and bright unusual combination of aromas. People who tried the wine usually say that they feel the notes of honey, nuts, juniper, dried fruit, almond, spices, herbs, wood, and green tea. In addition to that, it can also contain fruity aromas. It is still not easy to describe this particular wine style with all the details as it depends on the production methods, quality and the place it comes from.

The main question existing is still concerning the big fuss behind the idea of a fashion of orange wines. Today any wine-connected event organized there will always be the mentioning of the orange wine. Before that, one of the biggest trends had always been rosé, which it is possible to find and order anywhere nowadays. However, checking the Internet these days in order to find the latest fashions you are more likely to find something like: “Orange wine is the biggest thing in wine these days, replacing rosé in the hearts of hipsters and wine aficionados” (Newsweek, 2019). Another point that professionals mention referring to this trend is connected with the food-pairing that has always been essential when talking about wine. Considering orange wines in these terms, they are perfect with the heavy meals, especially with steaks, seafood dishes, the ones rich in fat as well as the desserts. Decanter (2019) called them “food-friendly wines”, which are a perfect match during the chef sets with different dishes served. Hence, basically matching any type of food, they are incredible as an order for big tables as “an orange wine pairing won’t fall apart after serving a big red wine the way that a white wine would” (Dalton, 2019). That makes it ideal for the restaurants to have it on the menu and recommend to the customers who look for something that will match a three-course meal. Therefore, more and more wine critics and sommeliers find it surprising that there are orange wine sections on the menu and that people order them as often as rosés meaning that at least for now he trend is here to stay. Instagram is booming with the posts about the wine uniqueness. A lot of wine bloggers and influencers make the posts with the beautiful Orange wine bottles persuading people to buy and try it (Trenz, 2019). However, there are still those who don’t consider it as any kind of incredible sensation. For example, one of the popular journalists Matthew Latkiewicz (2019) after taking his non-wine-professional friends for Orange wine tasting collected their opinions about it and the result was not that inspiring. Among their feedbacks there were “Sort of tastes like a warm wine cooler,” and “Put some sugar in this and it’s what my mom drinks.” So for some taste, the wine may be boring or nothing special or even though it is interesting, most will still prefer just the simple white. refers to the Orange wine as “a current favorite of hipster sommeliers” (Isle, 2015) with the prediction that it is not going to spread over the mass market. Due to feedbacks, the trend seems to be working more for professionals and internet influencers, than for ordinary people.

All things considered, orange wine is an unordinary product and it can not be recommended for everyone. Being an exceptional wine with a unique technology of production orange wine seems to be suitable more for some particular events or as a single try to gain some experience. It is praised by the wine enthusiasts and Instagram bloggers, but when it comes to the regular wine-drinkers the feedbacks are not that joyful. It is very doubtful that the fashion will spread to the mass market as in real life people still prefer the classics with simpler tastes. 

09 March 2021
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