In Paris, France, the growing demand for orange wines in some trendy restaurants and the 4.5-fold increase in production of orange wines from local French wineries may be the rise of another niche market.
Image courtesy of: Wine Business Watch
Orange wines are now on some trendy restaurant wine lists, and those who like them tend to be consumers who are looking for naturalness and originality. Since then, wine critics have taken an interest. It"s not easy to explain to customers what an orange wine is, but I prefer to say it's a maceration wine, because orange wines are made from white grapes like red wines and macerated intact and soft over a period of weeks to months, with the skins and stalks of the grapes giving it a special color, and after aging and oxidation, we get The wine resembles an orange color, hence the name. And this method is not modern either, it was done by Georgian winegrowers as far back as 6,000 years ago. At that time, the main problem was how to better preserve the juice aged in jars filled with clay wax to ensure a tight seal.
Some Italian producers started producing orange wine early on, especially in the border area between Frili and Slovenia. One of the pioneers, Josko Gravner, began producing orange wine in Oslavia in the 1990s.
In France, the phenomenon is a recent one, but many wine growers have embarked on the orange wine adventure with passion. Increasingly, they are producing macerated wines. But Marco Pelletier warns against overproduction. Sure, this method preserves the wine, but as time passes, certain defects in the wine (such as volatile acids) may appear. It should not be mass-produced at all costs, and we must respect the aromas of the grape varieties.
Emmanuel Clavier, winemaker at the Grandes Esprances estate in Touraine, started his career three years ago after tasting orange wines in Italy. After testing a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, he chose Chenin as the grape for the orange wine, he says: "We harvest very ripe grapes that are not destemmed, and we macerate them in small containers for three to four months and then age them in clay tanks and barrels for at least six months. We try to make a wine with good bitterness and not too heavy tannins.
In the first vintage (2016), Emmanuel Clavier produced only 2,000 bottles of wine, but given the success of the product, he will produce 9,000 bottles in the 2019 vintage. Although the orange wine market in France is still a niche market.
From the beginning customers who had never tasted this wine rarely ordered it, but it is increasingly in demand in many restaurants in Paris," says Marco Pelletier. Customers report that the pairing of orange wine with cheese is unbeatable, and that orange wine can also be paired with Asian dishes, such as curries, as long as the dishes are not too spicy.
So, will orange become the fourth color of wine, alongside white, red and rosé? Antoine Arraou, marketing manager at Chateau Lafitte, explains, "Demand for orange wines is still low compared to other wines, but more and more restaurant chefs are interested in these wines, and the innovative experience is more surprising to customers than the classic meal-wine pairing."
Marco Pelletier concluded that wine culture is booming and customers are increasingly interested in the technical aspects of wine making. Orange wine will become another option in the wine market in the coming years, and the prices of orange wine on the market now usually range from 15€/bottle - 50€/bottle.