With the experience of five generations devoted to orange cultivation, the three brothers of Naranjas Che, with fields in the Valencian town of Sagunto, exported organically grown oranges sold on-line, but wanted to create a new product.
They then discovered that in South America white wine is flavored with fruits such as mango or passion fruit, but they wanted to "give it added value" and thought, "if you can make wine from grape juice, why not do the same with citrus?" Despite the importance of oranges for Valencia, "nobody had ever thought about turning them into wine," so the brothers decided to embark on the adventure by partnering with a winemaker who knew "a lot about wine, but nothing about oranges," explains Antelo.
They signed an agreement with the Polytechnic University of Valencia and started conducting tests which, according to the director, at first yielded "undrinkable" results, because "it was necessary to adjust parameters such as sugar levels, fermentation temperature or time of harvesting, which are very different with oranges compared to grapes." The first version of the orange wine arrived in the summer of 2013, after a year of research based on "trial and error."
"People think it is a white wine with orange juice added or a distilled liquor, but Tarongino is orange wine; fermented juice using yeast," affirms Antelo. Grapes have found new competitors in oranges and mandarins, which give wines new colors and unusual flavors.
As pointed out by Antelo, "mandarin wine is drier and less sweet; it has a taste that lies between white wine and cider, but with a touch of fresh acidity."
Orange wine "has a sweet, intense flavor, because it is macerated with the peel" and Sanguine (blood orange) wine, "has a pink tone and a flavor reminiscent of berries, as this orange variety shares many components with it."
This family project, which was self-financed with $450,000, has already been successfully released in multiple national fairs and has even started being exported. It has been particularly well received by younger consumers, who drink it as an accompaniment to appetizers and salads, but also with desserts, since its fruity flavor combines well with sweet dishes, according to the company.
The creators of Tarongino, in any case, will not stop innovating and plan to continue expanding the range. Antelo reveals they are already experimenting with grapefruit wine, which will have a bitter taste and start being marketed soon.
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