Posts Tagged ‘orange wine’

Another Busy Ontario Harvest Is Underway

Posted by Shirley

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021
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The Savvy Team loves connecting with Canadian wine & cider makers all year long to talk about the latest products being released & the changing consumer trends & winemaking techniques. It’s no surprise that autumn is the busiest season for anyone involved in making these beverages – from the vineyard & orchard crews growing the fruit to the winemakers and their support teams.

One very busy winemaker these days is Yvonne Irvine at Creekside Estate Winery in the Niagara region.
Fourteen years ago, Yvonne arrived at Creekside as a co-op student from Niagara College’s winemaking program. Today, she holds the title of Assistant Winemaker, working alongside Creekside’s head winemaker Rob Power, whom Yvonne credits for mentoring her through the years. “We’ve now developed a very cohesive working relationship,” says Yvonne, “and are like ‘yin & yang’ when we work together.”  Yvonne now oversees Creekside’s ‘Red Tractor’ brand of wines as well as the winery’s Chardonnay program and what’s more, this year she even started up her own ‘virtual’ winery with her husband!

When we chatted with Yvonne in late August, she was bracing for the busiest three months of her year. Even before the grape harvest begins (usually in September, depending on the region & the grape variety) Yvonne and the Creekside team were very busy trying to get all the tanks & barrels in the winery emptied & thoroughly cleaned as well as ordering in all the wine-making supplies needed before the fruit could start coming in.

Creekside has twelve acres of different grape varieties in its vineyard and its sister winery, Queenston Mile, has roughly thirty-five acres of vines. Yvonne also works closely with other grape growers in the Niagara region that provide Creekside with more fruit for some of their wines. Both she & Rob check in with those growers regularly before the harvest to talk about any potential problems as well as the ripeness of the grapes, tasting and helping the team make decisions about what will be harvested first. “There are certain grapes that are picked based on sugar levels & acidity levels,” says Yvonne. “But there are other grapes, like Sauvignon Blanc, where the flavour profile is more important, especially for the range of wines we make with that grape.”

A few months ago, Yvonne & her husband Rob Wallace made the decision to start up their own business as well – a virtual winery called Maenad Wine. Virtual wineries are becoming more popular in Ontario, with up & coming winemakers renting space & equipment from well-established winery operations.

Along with making interesting natural wines, like a Piquette, a Pet Nat, and a skin-fermented Chardonnay (also called an orange wine), Maenad Wine also celebrates women in the wine industry. Yvonne says ‘Maenads’ were female followers of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and Yvonne’s wines – completely unfiltered – reflect a certain lifestyle that resonates with her. You can check out more about the Maenad Wine Company and order all of its current wines through www.DrinkCollab.ca

Good luck to Yvonne and all of those involved in the 2021 harvest – we can’t wait to see what new bottles are created in the coming months!

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Orange Wine

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, May 17th, 2021
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By Shirley Roy, Savvy Sommelier

It’s incorrect to call Orange wine ‘the new kid on the block’, since this natural winemaking process dates back thousands of years. There are no oranges involved, either. It’s 100% grapes. Orange wine is named for the ‘orange’ colour it develops during the winemaking process and this style of wine seems to be popping up everywhere.

Orange wine is made from white grape varieties. In Ontario, it’s often Chardonnay or Vidal grapes that are used. Typically, when making a white wine, the grapes are crushed and the resulting juice is separated immediately from the grape skins. Not so when making Orange wine. The juice and the grape skins stay together for many days–sometimes months. And the longer the contact occurs, the darker the orange colour! Letting the grape juice and grape skins sit together is also the usual method used to make red wines, so a common explanation for Orange wines is ‘a white wine made in the same process as a red wine’. As is the case with all natural wines, Orange wine relies on wild yeast that’s in the air for fermentation, meaning the resulting flavours are less predictable. No additives are used in the winemaking process and it’s not filtered before bottling, so it’s often cloudy.

So what does Orange wine taste like? Think of these wines as ‘artisanal’. Many have a funkier taste due to the use of wild yeast. The grape skin contact often results in a bit of the drying tannins you find in red wines, so there can be a black tea-like characteristic. Many will have bright acidity that accentuates the fruit & floral notes and some will also have herbal notes in the aromas. Almost all Orange wines are dry wines, which often makes them a great wine to pair with lighter fare like a seafood or chicken salad–or one of my personal favourites, a smoked salmon brunch.

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