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We now have four categories of wine - red, white, rosé and orange. Orange wines have a long history of being made and are basically white wines that are made like red wines, meaning the wines spend time on the skins, where they impart color. But many people think of orange wines as those sour beer-like wines that are nothing like what we think of wine. However, not all orange wines are beer-like and many producers are making skin-contact white wines in order to enhance the texture of the wine. I wrote about some of these wines in the Napa Valley Register, which I am sharing here. It used to be an easy choice — do you want red wine or white wine? Then rosé grew in popularity and the choice was between red, white or rosé? But now, more and more, restaurants have a new section on the wine list offering orange wines, also called amber wine.
Orange wines are made like red wines. When we make red wines, the color comes from the skins. For rosé wines, the time the grapes spend on the skin is less than for red wines, resulting in a lighter red shade, or pink, wine. Orange wines are made from white wine grapes where the skins are kept on for hours, days, weeks or months, resulting in wines with orange or amber hues.