Results of the 2018 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada (The Nationals)

Orange Wines (skin-fermented whites)

Category overview by judge and panel leader Janet Dorozynski

Although there have been a smattering of entries of orange wines over past years, this is the first time that the Nationals has had a separate category for orange or skin-fermented white wines. According to co-head judge Anthony Gismondi, while the category may be “experimental for sure, we admire the willingness of wineries to pursue new styles and suspect there will be even more extended skin contact entries next year“.

While not made from oranges, nor really a new style of wine since Georgian production of skin-fermented whites dates back thousands of years, it is a category that might be new to the average consumer and not always understood. Orange wines are essentially white wines that are made using red wine production techniques, whereby the skin and seeds of the grapes are left in contact with the juice, which gives an orange or amber colour or hue to the finished wine. The wines also have a texture or mouthfeel similar to a red wine, since they have tannins from the skins, seeds and stems, imparted through contact during fermentation.

And although the style of wine or category may be relatively new in Canada, in July 2017 VQA Ontario became the first appellation of origin system in the world to recognize and regulate the production of skin-fermented or orange wines as a separate category (whereas under BC VQA orange wine falls within the white wine category).

The entries in this inaugural category were inspiring and came from British Columbia and Ontario, with many of the wines made from aromatic white wine varieties such as gewurztraminer, viognier, pinot gris and the hybrid vidal blanc which appears well suited to both orange wines and Icewine.

Given the high number of silver medals and a gold among a small sample size, it is clear that the judges were both impressed with the overall quality level and excited for the future of this style in Canada. Congratulations to all the winning wines.

 = Click on the shopping cart to purchase conveniently through WineAlign. Once you have clicked on the wine, click on the “Buy a Case Now” button.

Dirty Laundry 2017 Gewurztraminer Au Naturel, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Haywire 2017 Free Form Vin Gris , Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Laughing Stock 2017 Viognier Rousanne, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Rocky Creek 2017 Pinot Gris, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Southbrook 2016 Skin Fermented Vidal, Ontario
Tawse 2017 Grey Gardens Orange Wine, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Traynor 2016 Skin Fermented Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, Ontario 

 = Click on the shopping cart to purchase conveniently through WineAlign. Once you have clicked on the wine, click on the “Buy a Case Now” button.