Skin Contact Wine (aka Orange Wine): A Complete Guide
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What is skin contact wine?

What Is Skin Contact Wine?

Are you looking to impress your guests with a curated selection of wines? Or just curious about unique winemaking techniques?

Either way, you’ll love this guide.

We’re about to dive deep into:

  • What skin contact wine actually is and how it’s made
  • How it tastes
  • Is it the same wine as rosé 
  • The best food pairings you can savor

So, sit tight, and let’s get into everything you need to know about these bottlings! 

What Is “skin contact wine” or orange wine?

Skin contact wine is essentially a type of white wine but is vinified like red wines.

It’s also called orange wine, skin-fermented white wine, amber wine, or ramato.

Here’s how it’s made:

During maceration, a period in winemaking, white grape skins remain in contact with the juice for a certain time, ranging from hours to months. This is the same method used to make red wine.

This process allows the skins extract additional tannins, body, and flavors, giving the color more depth—generally orange or amber. In other words, this contact lends red wine characteristics while keeping the white wine's acidity.

What is Skin contact wine?

Even though skin contact wine is a white wine that has turned orange, not all these types of wines are orange. And, no actual oranges involved.

In fact, these distinctive wines can range from golden-straw yellow to vivid amber, depending on how long the juice ferments with the skins.

While it seems to be the new hot thing, the origins of orange wine go way back. It was first made in Georgia, where winemakers fermented white grapes with their skins in clay vessels known as Qvevri for thousands of years.

This technique eventually spread to Italy in the 1990s and has been gaining popularity since then.  

These basics are nice to know, but you’re probably wondering:

“How does it even taste?”

Well, that’s what our next chapter is all about…

How do skin contact wines taste?

Now that you’ve learned how these wines are made, it’s time to cover the tasting notes.

Obviously, the taste comes from the grape variety of the wine, but there are some common points to expect.

First, the aromas are bolder and more intense when compared to if the same grapes were vinified as white wine. You can think about it like the intensity difference between rosé and red wine.

Second, they have more texture and body than traditional white wine. Once again, the length of maceration plays a significant part in the taste.

What is skin contact wine (orange wine)?

Also, these tannic-character wines can be highly aromatic, with tropical or zesty notes and a touch of bitterness.

What else should you expect?

  • Peach
  • Apricot and pineapple
  • Orange blossom 
  • Beeswax and honey

The best part is that orange wines’ layered taste has a slight saltiness, making them very food-friendly. (We’ll get into that part later.)

Skin contact wines mostly involve a hands-off approach in the cellar. So, it is likely you will encounter a vintage and terroir character.

Speaking off hands-off approach…

Are skin contact wines natural?

This is a tricky one. Because natural wine is a term that carries its own uncertainty. 

Natural winemaking style includes minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar. Using organic or biodynamic farming methods, this technique allows grapes to express their true characteristics with minimal use of sulfites, no additives, or commercial yeast.

What gives?

Skin contact style also often involves less intervention, and it’s fair to say that they tend to fall somewhere on the natural wine spectrum.

Are skin contact wines natural?

No matter what you call it, the result is deeply layered wine with a distinctive color and rich flavor profile that reflects the unique characteristics of the grapes and the environment in which they were grown.

With that, let’s check out our next chapter, which involves another tricky question.

Is rosé the same as skin contact wine?

If skin contact gives color, is orange wine the same thing as its lookalike, rosé?

Well, not really. Let us explain.

As we mentioned earlier, white grape skins stay in contact with the juice to produce orange wine. 

The same process is applied to rosé, but rosé is made with red wine grapes with less skin contact time than red wine. The rosé’s pink color comes from a brief soak with the skins, typically as little as 12 hours. 

Rosé wines are produced to give a lighter and fresher taste that is light on tannin and easily drinkable. That’s exactly why winemakers allow very brief skin contact during fermentation. 

The skin contact time in orange wines is longer than in traditional white wines, ranging from hours to months. Here, the result is a wine with a savory characteristic that offers a sensory experience.

Bottom line?

Although they’re made very similarly, rosé and skin contact wines are different. 

We covered the basics and answered some common questions.

And now it’s time to move on to how you can pair these delicious wine bottles.

Best Food Pairings

Picture this: you are hosting a big party and want to thrill your guests with exceptional wine and savory food.

That’s where orange wines step in as a charming option. They have a GREAT potential for food pairings. 


Tip: Combining white wine's fruit flavor and red wine's texture and intensity, orange wines work well with foods that may not pair as easily with other wines.

For example, they perfectly match fish dishes, white meats, and turkey. Moreover, meaty seafood, such as salmon, and spiced and savory dishes, such as Thai food, work very well.

The complex and aromatic features make them a good pairing with earthy vegetarian food and a variety of cheeses

But there is more.

Orange wines are also great to pair with:

  • Bruschetta
  • Roasted nuts
  • Pork
  • Fried chicken
  • Marinated olives
  • Lean beef  


And the good news is that this variety pays off. As people meet and get more eager to try new wine styles, orange wines expand their popularity beyond just niche restaurants and bars.

Well, you are almost ready to go. 

Buy Best Skin Contact Wines in Los Angeles

If you’re looking for the best skin contact wine near you, you’ve just landed in the right place.

Juicefly offers top-shelf orange wine brands that will fill your glass with pure quality.

Buy Skin Contact Wines (Orange Wines) in Los Angeles

Plus, our fast and discreet delivery service brings you the best products straight to your doorstep in all areas of Los Angeles.

Check our comprehensive wine page to see all our products and enjoy that long-awaited orange wine bliss.


What is skin contact wine?
Skin contact wine, or orange wine, is a type of white wine that’s vinified like red wine.
How do you drink skin contact wine?
You can enjoy it during picnics, cocktail hours, or as an aperitif before a meal.
Is rosé the same as skin contact wine?
No, rosé wine is made by a shorter maceration time with red wine grapes, while skin contact wine involves a more extended contact between grape skins and the juice.
How does orange wine taste?
It offers tropical and zesty notes with a touch of bitterness. You can also expect peach, orange blossom, beeswax, and honey based on its grape variety.
Is white wine skin contact?
White wine is typically not made with skin contact, as the grapes used to produce white wine are usually pressed immediately, separating the juice from the skin.
What wine has no skin contact?
Grapes for white wines like Gruner Veltliner, Fiano, or Ribolla Gialla have no skin contact.
Is orange wine natural?
Natural wine carries its own uncertainty as a term. It involves minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar, using organic or biodynamic methods, and orange wines mostly align with this approach on the natural wine spectrum.
What do you eat with orange wine?
These deep orange-hued wines pair well with fish dishes, white meats, turkey, and spiced and savory dishes.
Why is skin contact wine orange?
This type of wine gets its color from the grape skins and juice contact during fermentation.
Is skin contact wine sweet?
During maceration, skins extract extra tannins, meaning the wines can have a subtle grip or a hint of bitterness.
What is orange wine?
Orange wine is a type of wine produced by fermenting white grapes with their skins, giving an amber color and unique flavor profile.
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