Typically, here’s how wine is made: White grapes are quickly crushed and the juice pressed away to start becoming wine. Red grapes are crushed so the juice can sit on the skins – a process called skin contact, which sounds vaguely obscene but is tantalizing in its own way. Skin contact lets the nascent wine absorb color and flavor, often for several weeks. If you reversed those rules for white wine? You would have what has come, somehow, to be called orange wine.

Most white wine is made by quickly taking the grape’s juice away from its skins and seeds. What orange wines share in common is skin contact: The juice bathes amid the grape skins for a period – picking up the extra stuff that the skins and seeds have to offer. Sometimes it’s even fermented directly on the skins. Essentially this is treating white grapes as though they were red, although those who traffic in would-be orange wines can get defensive about the comparison.

“I do not think of them as, or even by analogy to, red wines,” says Abe Schoener, who uses the technique for the sometimes experimental whites under his Scholium Project label.

Of course, red grapes frequently are treated like white, the juice drained away from skins before deeper flavors or colors are extracted. This is how rosé is made.

What’s the purpose?

via Printable version: Soaking white grapes in skins is orange crush.