Orange Wein, Naturwein, Biowein

Orange wine, natural wine, organic wine

Sandra HaltmayerMarch 18, 2022
Orange wine, raw wine, natural wine (or in French Vin Naturel). Almost everyone who is interested in wine has come across one or more of these supposedly new wine terms in recent years. The terms are also often used in one go, describing different types of wines that differ primarily in their style. In today's blog post, we want to take a closer look at the terms and how we can differentiate them. 
Orange Wine

By the term orange wine we basically mean white wines that are produced like red wines. The main difference to a classically produced white wine is found in the mash fermentation phase. Here the grape juice from the pressed grapes and the grape skins are fermented together. This is also often described as "fermenting on the skins". Significantly more tannins (tannins) and colorants are released from the grape skins than would be the case with fermentation of pure grape juice. This is exactly what would happen to produce a "normal" white wine. The additionally dissolved tanning and coloring agents change both the color and the aroma profile of the wine. It becomes darker, golden or just "orange", as the name orange wine implies.

Winegrowers who produce orange wines often produce according to biological or biodynamic principles, although this is not a prerequisite for an orange wine. The wines are then, among other things, little or not at all sulphurized and are often unfiltered on the market.

In this area we find the intersection too

Natural Wine (Vin Naturel)

When it comes to natural wines, we are talking about wines that are produced as "near-naturally" as possible, i.e. "low-intervention" or "minimal intervention". Vintners of natural wines try to intervene as little as possible in the natural processes during wine production and to use hardly any additives or fining agents at all. Natural wines are usually hardly filtered or unfiltered, unfined, spontaneously fermented (without the use of pure cultured yeasts) and hardly or not at all sulphurised. Most natural wines come from winegrowers who work organically or biodynamically and carry the corresponding certificates. However, this is not a mandatory requirement for a natural wine.

Most natural wines are produced organically or biodynamically and also carry the associated certificates, but an organic certificate is not a prerequisite for a natural wine. For some winemakers, the production according to the principles mentioned is nothing special, but the "traditional" way for them to produce wine, as it has been done for centuries. For this reason, they also refrain from highlighting the term natural wine or an organic certificate. They let their wine speak for itself.

Organic wine
Organic wines include all wines that are produced according to organic principles and have an EU or, in Germany, German organic certificate. The specifications of these certificates are less strict than the specifications for biodynamic certificates. Furthermore, organic wines per se are neither orange wines nor natural wines.

Biodynamic wine

Biodynamically produced wines are produced according to special guidelines from various associations such as Bioland, Demeter or Naturland and carry a corresponding certificate. The requirements for a biodynamic wine are significantly stricter than those for a regular organic wine. However, biodynamic wines are neither always orange wines nor natural wines.

Whether orange wine, natural wine or organic wine, the current focus on these terms reflects a beautiful development within the wine world, towards more nature or basically back to nature. Be it young winegrowers who have dedicated themselves to natural wines or long-standing winegrowers whose orange wine creations are now attracting more attention and appreciation worldwide. For us as wine lovers and wine explorers, this movement has many positive aspects that we are happy to embrace.