When Orange Isn’t Orange
The popularity of so-called ‘orange wines’ in certain quarters has prompted Wine Australia to issue a clarification, in which it states that ‘orange’ can signify many things, but cannot be used on any wine that doesn’t come from the Orange regional GI in New South Wales.
Indeed, Wine Australia’s Steve Guy says this would be an offence under the Wine Australia Corporation Act. What they don’t get, is that ‘orange’ is a colloquialism and is seldom if ever seen on wine labels. It is seen on a few trendy restaurant wine lists, however.
‘Orange wine’ is a shorthand of the ‘natural’ wine movement (there’s another controversial title!) to signify white wines made by fermenting juice on the skins. These wines are beloved of a small coterie of sommeliers in funky wine bars, especially in Sydney, and are catching on with young drinkers who perceive that such wines are healthier for themselves and the environment due to limited additions and manipulations in both vineyard and winery.
I vote for the term ‘amber’ wine, which is the preferred term of John Wurdeman (pictured above), of Pheasant’s Tears winery in Georgia, one of the movement’s leading figures. It also describes their colour more accurately. Wine Australia: A clarification on Orange wine