True colours – now is the time for orange wine

When it comes to wines, orange is the new rival to pink, says Times Drinks Editor James Viner


Pink has a new rival. Distinctive, dry orange wine made by fermenting white grapes, but with extended contact (long maceration) – as with red winemaking – between skins, pips, occasionally stems, and juice. This can turn out anything from subdued golden to bright gold or orange-coloured wines. Here I’ve chosen six food-friendly bottles that aren’t over the top as regards astringency, tannin, chewiness and funkiness.


  1. 2021 Luis Felipe Edwards, Macerao Naranjo Orange Wine, Itata Valley, Chile (£8.99, Waitrose,, 12.5%)

With a lattice of supple astringency and a tickle of black tea, this well-crafted, unfiltered orange blossom, apricot, pear, honey, marmalade and quince-scented ‘vino de Naranja (orange wine) gets my vote. It’s made from old bush-vine Moscatel de Alejandría grapes grown in southern Chile’s cool and beautiful Itata Valley. Macerated on skins for 90 days. Open for tapas and smoked fish.


  1. 2021 Tbilvino Qvevris Orange Wine, Kakheti, Georgia (£10, M&S,, 12%)

You can’t discuss skin-contact orange wine without trying a bottle from Georgia, where it’s believed to have originated. Superb quince fruit, smoky spice and pear-styled 2021 dry orange wine from Kakheti, in the foothills of the Caucasus, Georgia. Cold-hardy Rkatsiteli grapes were skin-fermented in qvevri – uniquely large Georgian clay vessels lined with beeswax, then buried underground – an 8,000-year-old practice for making red and white wines. Try this textbook, personality-laden orange wine, which has a little tannic bristle, with Stinking Bishop or roast pork.


  1. 2021 Didebuli Orange Kisi Amber Dry, Kakheti, Georgia (£10.50, The Wine Society,, 12.5%)

A delightfully drinkable, headily perfumed, nutty, apricot and orange peel of a Georgian ‘amber wine’ here, with ample concentration and low tannins, but keen acidity and verve too. A joyous off-piste winner with seafood.


  1. 2022 Litmus Orange Bacchus, Surrey, England (£17.49, Grape Britannia,, 12.5%)

This is a glorious, faintly tannic, non-feral, fennel, hazelnut, stone fruit and elderflower-scented star of a skin-fermented Bacchus from Dorking, Surrey. The grapes were fermented and remained on skins without SO2 for four weeks. Just the ticket for aged Comté and Middle Eastern meze. Smart and faintly funky. Take a bow, winemaker John Worontschak.


  1. 2020 Gérard Bertrand Organic Orange Gold, Occitanie, France (£19, Ocado,, 13%)

Nab this seductive, elite Languedoc six-grape blend with flutters of dried apricot, nectarine, lemongrass, orange blossom, pink grapefruit, white pepper and potpourri. It’s detailed, only lightly astringent but most of all, clean and delicious – and its sunset hue colour and striking bottle will appeal to trend-setting Instagrammers! One for spicy Thai/Indian dishes and charcuterie. Santé!


  1. 2022 Denbies Wine Estate Orange Solaris, Surrey, England (£28.25, Denbies,, 12.5%)

Anyone tucking into this delightful homegrown amber-gold orange wine with a spicy lamb casserole, steak frites, lightly spiced Asian cuisine, grilled meats or
pork belly will have a great time. Think jackfruit, guava, pineapple, dried orange rind, clementine and baked apple. Made from the early-ripening Solaris grape, it was left to macerate on its skins for seven months before being pressed. Resonates clean and long.



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