What is orange wine? The best orange wines to drink this summer

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Orange wine has just been promoted to the top of our must-drink list for the summer as sales reports show that it’s flying off the shelves, with a growth of 400% since last year.

Although rosé and bubbles will always fit the bill when it comes to summer drinking, there’s a new cool, crisp and ever-so-slightly fruity wine on the block that’s stolen our hearts this season: orange wine. 

When Dead to Me’s second series launched back in May we were intrigued when Jen Harding (played by the hilarious Christina Applegate) took her neighbour up on the invitation to try some orange wine in the garden on a warm, sunny day.

Since then, Sainsbury’s has released findings from The Drinks Dispatch, a report which explores the existing and upcoming trends within the beers, wine and spirits space, which show that orange wine is indeed the next big thing.

Their research shows that interest in orange wine is booming, with searches increasing by over 400% since this time last year. It’s also a hit on social media, as insights report that 29% of 18-34-year-olds say they’d buy it to look good in their Instagram feed and 33% of 25-34-year-olds are keen to lead the trend.

Orange wine is already famous in Italy, South Africa, Greece, Spain and Eastern Europe, and is now seen as a must-buy for millennials in particular who dominate the wine market and want to try something new. So, it’s no wonder we’re hankering to know more about this summery-sounding wine and whether we should be drinking it ourselves.

What is orange wine?

According to wine expert at The Wine Workshop Jane Parkinson, we should absolutely be cracking open a bottle of orange wine, as she says this particular beverage is “one of the hottest trends right now”.

“Orange wine is nothing to do with the fruit and everything to do with the wine’s colour,” says Parkinson.

She continues: “It’s made by crushing white grapes in a cement or ceramic container and instead of removing the skins and seeds (as is normally done), the whole lot is left to ferment away for however long the winemaker sees fit. It could be a few days. It could be a year. Little to no additives are included in this mixture so they often taste earthier and turn an apricot/orange colour.”

Orange wine does often cost more, but Parkinson explains that because of the time and care it takes to make a good one, and says it’s worth the extra pennies.

Best orange wines to try 

If you’re new to the world of orange wine you might be wondering where to start. Yes, this stuff may sound like sunshine in a glass, but with so many different interpretations on the market it can feel difficult – nay impossible – for a wine novice to pick the right one.

We asked Parkinson for her help once again, and enlisted the expertise of Luke Comer from Newcastle cocktail bar Mother Mercy (who, since lockdown, has developed a home cocktail hotline Mother Knows Best with tips and recipes), for their tips on the best orange wines to try.

Feeling thirsty yet? Well, that’s our picnic-ing libations sorted!

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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