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Shaw produces ‘orange’ wine (made from grapes)

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Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 1:00 pm

STARKEY — The contents of the bottles at most Finger Lakes wineries feature a panorama of white, red and pink.

One Yates County winery is adding orange to that list.

Shaw Vineyard began marketing an orange wine Friday. The 2013 Vin d’Orange Sauvignon Blanc will be available only in the tasting room of the 12-year-old Route 14 facility, and customers will be limited to buying two bottles of that vintage per visit.

A second orange offering, the 2013 Vin d’Orange Gewürztraminer, will be available sometime next month. Shaw Vineyard owner and winemaker Steve Shaw said Friday he expects that date to be Sept. 1.

Both orange wines will sell for $30 a bottle.

Shaw had toyed with the idea of producing an orange wine after trying various vintages of that type, many from eastern Europe, in the past several years.

“It was intriguing to me because I really love to make red wine,” Shaw said. “I thought about it for several years, but I didn’t really have an opportunity to do it justice and to do it right until last year.”

Shaw devoted part of his 2013 sauvignon blanc crop and all of his 2013 gewürztraminer grapes to his new product. The vineyard uses grapes grown on its 22-acre estate to produce nearly 100 percent of its wine.

“I had a really nice, clean crop of sauvignon blanc and gewürztraminer,” he said. “Both are aromatic whites, and both have nice tannin structure. I thought maybe I’d try it with these varieties.”

To make orange wine, the skins of the white grapes are left in the juice to ferment longer than is customary for white wines. The added time before pressing gives the wine an orange, rusty color, with a flavor profile a bit more complex than a white wine.

“There is oxidation of the wine, and that’s really what sort of causes the orange hue in the juice and the subsequent wine,” elaborated Shaw, who has grown grapes for 34 years and made wine for the past 20.

Shaw said the taste isn’t similar to much of anything in the red or white spectrum.

“The orange wine flavors are in a whole different category,” Shaw said. “The viscosity and the mouth-feel are much more like a red wine, and it’s really because of the tannins from the grapes.”

Shaw said he is bottling about 50 cases each of the orange varietals. The winery will begin bottling the 2013 Vin d’Orange Gewürztraminer Tuesday.

“There is a little bit of bottle shock involved,” Shaw said. “The wine characteristics kind of get beaten up a little bit during bottling. After two to three weeks those characteristics come back pretty strong.”

Shaw’s son, Steve, designed the label for the new orange sauvignon blanc and is doing the same for the orange gewürztraminer.

Shaw Vineyard’s tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

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