Orange is the new white

Robust and bold, orange wine pairs exceptionally well with fiery foods. Its honeyed aromas of nuts, bruised apple, wood varnish and juniper are drawing the connoisseurs

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Orange is the new white


Move over red, white or rose. Orange wine commands the oomph factor in the millennial age. Cherished for being deep amber in hue, orange wine is neither made of oranges nor is it a mimosa cocktail or any other concoction of sparkling wine and orange juice. It is actually a refinement of white wine trying to lure in the hipster crowd.

Says Meghana Bhandary, food and beverage manager, Blown - the blow dry bar, “Orange wine carries greater appeal thanks to its unique amber colour. It is lighter than red and earthier than white, giving Indian consumers a very unique experience. Although it is currently for a more sophisticated palate, there is huge growth potential with millennials taking to the wine culture and they will perceive orange wine as a young and fresh drink.”

A type of white wine, orange wine is made by crushing the grapes and leaving them to ferment with their skin and seeds intact and in contact with the juice, giving the nectar a amber-orange hue.

“White grapes are normally not kept in contact with their skins for longer duration and are also very rarely fermented with their skins on. White wines are more associated with flowery and fresh fruit aromas and less with structure, owing to lack of skin contact,” says Abhay Kewadkar, managing director of Tetrad Global Beverages. 

Kewadkar says the process of making orange wine was followed in ancient times. “Some wine regions, especially in Romania, Georgia and Italy are reinventing this process for creating a distinct style. Orange is the new white in the world of wines,” adds Kewadkar.

Orange wines have been described as “robust'' and “bold'', with the honeyed aromas of jackfruit, hazelnut, Brazil nut, bruised apple, wood varnish, sourdough, juniper and dried orange rind, says Jatinder Pal Singh, executive chef, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel and Convention Centre. “On the palate, these wines are big, dry and have tannins like in red wines, with a sourness similar to fruit beer. Often, orange wines are so intense that you might want to sit down while taking your first sip,” adds Singh.

Wine connoisseurs feel orange wine is more of a food wine than white wine, and thanks to its boldness, it pairs exceptionally well with foods carrying a strong taste like fiery curries and gravies, as well as other “bold” flavours that are present in Korean kimchi, Japanese and Ethiopian foods. “Thus, it perfectly suits the palate of Indian consumers,” says Singh. 

Experts say wine as a category has tremendous growth potential worldwide. Zion Market Research points out that the global wine market will generate revenues of $423.59 billion by 2023, from about $302.02 billion in 2017. This buoyancy will rub off on all wine categories, including orange wine. However, in India, wine consumption is still to catch on with the masses. The per capita per annum consumption of wine is a mere 10 millilitre in India, which is a tiny dot as compared to the global average of 4 litre.

In India, wine is still perceived with a great degree of sophistication, resulting in its consumption mostly during elegant social events. This is in sheer contrast with beverages like vodka, beer, or rum that are consumed everywhere from parties to social events to night-outs and in restaurants and pubs. Wine is still a niche segment, and orange wine is a niche within that niche, say experts, who add in the same vein that market dynamics are, however, fast transforming.

Sakshi Sagaraju, managing director of Kaze Bar and Kitchen says Indian consumers have evolved and are open to trying out anything new. “Consumers are adventurous. Orange wine will definitely have scope in the market.”

Bhandary says sturdy promotional efforts are needed to educate and create consumer awareness regarding orange wine. “Even ice wines were relatively unheard of earlier but have slowly gained in popularity. Wine pairings can become a great tool to popularise orange wines. India is still a price-conscious market and it is important to price orange wines at a competitive rate which will allow restaurants to serve them by the glass. Thirdly, having testers at restaurants and at stores that retail alcoholic beverages is another way to popularise orange wine. I feel this category has immense potential among the millennials, especially women.”


  • $423.59 bn – Revenues the global wine market will generate by 2023, as per Zion Market Research
  • 10 millilitre – The per capita per annum of consumption wine in India
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