Results from the 2023 Nationals – Orange Wines

Announcing the Results from the 2023 National Wine Awards of Canada

The 22nd running of the National Wine Awards of Canada wrapped up on June 28 in Penticton. Category results will be rolling out throughout the rest of July, with the final Platinum, Best Performing Small Winery, and Winery of the Year announcements coming at the end of this month. We hope you will stay tuned to follow the results and become engaged in anticipating the final results.

We’ve asked a few of our judges to summarize their impressions of each category. Today we are pleased to present the Orange Wine winners.

Orange Wines

Category Overview by Judge Janet Dorozynski, Ph.D., DipWSET

Orange wine, also known as skin fermented or skin contact wines are a relatively new category and style of wine in Canada. While produced in countries like Georgia for millennia, and more recently in Slovenia and the Friuli Collio region of Italy, orange wines have been part of the Canadian wine scene for just over a decade and a separate category at the National Wine Awards of Canada since 2018.

Orange wines are made from white grapes fermented on their skins and seeds like the process used for red wine making. The extended maceration imparts both a different colour and textural component and body to the wines with the best orange wines having the structure of a red wine with the refreshing qualities we tend to associate with white wines. Colours range from pale to medium deep orange, amber and even gold, with some wines being hazy. They often have discernible tannins and aromas and umami flavours of dried fruit, steeped black tea, nuts, hoppy beer and even bruised apples, which may be an acquired taste.

These wines are neither defined nor regulated in many countries. South Africa became the first country to define skin-contact wines as skin-macerated white wines in 2015. Ontario created a definition in 2017. In order to label and be certified by Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario, orange wines must be made from white grape varieties that are fermented on skins for a minimum of 10 days. In British Columbia, the British Columbia Wine Authority under the Province’s “Wines of Marked Quality Regulation” regulates orange wine as a subset of white wine.

There were 20 orange wine entries this year from British Columbia and Ontario with an almost even medal split between the two provinces. It is clear that improvements and experimentation continues along with some new entrants to the category.

NWAC 2023 Sponsors: