Need a Break from Rosé? Try Orange Wine

Orange Wine LEAD
Photo: REX/Shutterstock

On a recent visit to N.Y.C. restaurant Wildair, helmed by chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske of Contra, I discovered two things: 1) Spicy tuna should always be served atop a slice of grilled bread; 2) Orange wine is a thing, and it is delicious.

Though not new, orange wine is a relatively uncommon offering on U.S. wine lists, so we tapped Jorge Riera, the wine director of Wildair and Contra, for the scoop on this sunset-hued beverage. Read on below for the details.

What gives orange wine its color?
“The color comes from macerating the wines with skin—prolonging the skin contact with the juice gives its orangey hue … the longer the contact, the darker and deeper the color,” Riera explains. “It also depends on the grape varietals.”

How would you describe the flavor?
“The skin imparts tannins and gives the wine a fleshy and more textured mouthfeel,” says Riera, whose current favorite bottles include Ači Urbajs ($56; and Cantina Giardino ($27;

Where are orange wines typically made?
“Well, they've been made in Georgia for over 8,000 years, and you can find them in the rest of Europe, like Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and France,” he explains.

The orange wine I sample was unfiltered—how does that affect flavor?
“Unfiltered wines are just undiluted, giving you more of a taste of what the juice is meant to taste like without stripping away from its character and body,” Riera says.

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