Cramele Recaș: The Orange Wine Asia Goes Crazy For
Orange wine is made from white grape varieties that have been fermented with their skins
Orange wine, a wine made from white grape varieties that have been fermented with their skins, as though they were red wines, established themselves as a new wine category a number of years ago. The extended contact with the grape skins gives these wines extra texture, not unlike tannins in red wines, but often also more intense flavours and, as the name implies, a colour that is neither red, white or rosé.
Initially, many viewed them with scepticism, but orange wines have carved out a niche amongst more adventurous drinkers. A trail-blazing Romanian winery, Cramele Recaș, started producing an orange wine in 2018. Made from a blend of Pinot Gris, Muscat Ottonel, Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, the wine is predictably aromatic and comes with a gentle, golden, orange glow. It also comes without any added sulfur dioxide and is both certified vegan and organic. What is remarkable is how the wine has taken Asia by storm.
Big in Japan
Philip Cox, owner of Cramele Recaș says: “After debuting in 2019, the wine sold more than 150,000 bottles in Japan. Sales have grown-super-fast with national listings. The wine launched on the Korean market in early 2020. The reaction has been great, and sales and listings have grown sharply this year – especially recently with a listing in 7-Eleven, an important convenience chain.”
While this may be a small number compared to other high-volume wines that sell in the millions, it is remarkable for an orange wine to be sold in such quantities. Affordability surely also plays a role, with the wine retailing for ¥1,280, approximately US$12. But Cox also notes: “I think in both countries there is an element of fitting the food profile. Both Korea and Japan appreciate umami flavours and I think that suits orange wines well. More than that, I think, it’s the idea of being natural, not having added ingredients or added sulfur dioxide. I think that’s super important to people in that part of Asia.”
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