A two-day celebration of orange and amber wine, hosted by The Fruitful Pursuit.
Introducing Not Quite White
Skin contact white wine is not a new phenomenon – not here in Australia, and especially not in a global context – but it will be the focal point for the next initiative of The Fruitful Pursuit: a celebration and congregation of amber and orange wines called Not Quite White.
Not Quite White is happening from 1pm ‘til 6pm on Saturday and Sunday 4-5 August at Chateau Apollo.
One- and two-day passes are now available here.
Hosted at Chateau Apollo, James Hopkins has gathered together a mass of winemakers from across the country, who will all put their skin contact wines side by side for Adelaide’s discerning drinking public to swish, nose and slurp through.
More than a conversation piece though, these wines, and the public’s reaction to them, will be tracked over the two-day event through Pursuit of Yum, a web app specially designed by The Fruitful Pursuit, in collaboration with Lightbulb Digital.
“Not Quite White is the first of its kind in a couple of ways, but the most interesting thing that we’re hoping to draw from this, by placing the power of opinion back into consumers’ hands, is to get the truest, most honest response possible,” James says.
“We’re placing sommeliers, wine buyers, wine writers, big opinion people, as well as the winemakers themselves, on the same platform as consumers… [and] we’re turning the entire tasting experience on its head, from other platforms we’ve developed.
“[The winemakers have been] very excited for the most part. We’ve developed some wonderful relationships with producers over the last few years. There’s a few who I’m certain would probably shy from having their wines observed in such a way, but for the most part it’s pure excitement.”
Orange or amber wine has gained influence amongst New World winemakers, here in South Australia and across the world, bringing modern versions of an ancient practice onto contemporary dinner tables.
Through the effects of increased skin contact during the winemaking process, these styles of wine are robust and pair well against just about anything plated against them, but that’s not to dismiss them as purely a food wine.
“People often discuss or use the term ‘food wine’ in a manner that suggests the wine isn’t simply enjoyable to drink by itself,” James says.
“A lot of these wines, the way that they’re structured, I think their flavours light up new pathways when accompanied with food. I’m not one to believe that white wine goes with white meats and heavy red meats go with heavy red wines, I think we’ve moved on from that considerably, and what’s nestled in the middle of it all, for me, are these skin contact white wines.”
The style is often compared to Georgian wine, where there is a deep history of making skin contact white wines, made in qvevris (clay pots) and often buried underground.
Tim Stock, a former sommelier who now imports wines from Georgia through his wine import business Vinous, will have a range of examples on show at Not Quite White, and is keen to see the public’s reaction to such a broad showcasing of amber wine.
“When you think about it, we’re pretty limited in styles of wine,” Tim says.
“You can have a sparkling, a white, a rosé, a red, traditionally, if you’re talking about broad categories. So obviously skin contact, or orange wine, has added a new category, so I think that’s been pretty important [for] young winemakers looking to diversify traditional wine styles.
“It’s just white wine fermented with its skins, so there’s only one fundamental difference in production compared with the other wine styles, so I think it’s a fairly easy concept for people to grasp. The taste, on the other hand, is really kind of up to [consumers], but there’s a huge range of styles, from aromatic, fruity, very light styles, through to some of the things like the more extreme, earthy styles that we’ve brought from Georgia.
“I’m sure, within the diversity of style that’s going to be represented, there’s going to be a skin contact wine for absolutely everyone who comes through the door.”
In the lead up to the event, for people not yet familiar with orange and amber wine, The Fruitful Pursuit has partnered with a number of restaurants around the city, which will each stock two wines from the Not Quite White lineup.
“We’ll be announcing [the restaurants] shortly, along with the wines they’ll be showcasing, but across Adelaide City there’ll be skinsy, odd-coloured wines available and pouring for the month leading up to the event,” James says.
“If you’re unsure of what this is all about, and if you’ve observed this section of the fridge at certain independent bottle shops before and wondered what’s going on with that wine, what is with that colour, and been a bit apprehensive about giving it a go, this will give you a head start.”