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Unreserved Wine Talk

238 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


72: Orange Wines are Trending with Winemaker Ann Sperling

What is orange wine? How does fermenting with the stems and leave give you a more complex flavour profile? Can you find orange wine on restaurant wine lists? Which types of food should you pair with orange wine?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we're chatting with Ann Sperling, winegrower and Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards.


  • How does orange wine give you a glimpse into ancient wines?
  • Why would you see less waste from the winemaking process with orange wine?
  • How long can you expect your orange wine to last with no added sulphites?
  • Why are you seeing an uptick in interest in orange wine?
  • Why is the Vidal grape such a good varietal for orange wine?
  • Why do you experience a savoury flavour profile with orange wine?
  • Where can you buy Southbrook orange wine?
  • Do orange wines mask the terroir and their grapes?
  • Why was it important to have the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) recognise orange wines in their own category?
  • What’s the next step in the evolution of the making and distribution of orange wines?
  • What’s the difference between orange wines and natural wines?
  • Why should you buy local when it comes to wine?
  • How is the winemaking process different for natural wines like those produced at Southbrook?
  • Other than Vidal, which grapes are well-suited for orange wine?
  • Do orange wines have to be organic?
  • What is unique about the Seriously Cool line of wines?
  • What sommelier secret should you know about pairing orange wines?
  • What flavour profile will you experience with Seriously Cool Chardonnay, Red Wine Blend and Rosé?
  • Why did Ann feel so strongly about orange wine having its own category with the VQA?
  • Where does Ann see the orange wine category growing into?
About Ann Sperling

Ann Sperling was raised on a vineyard, where her family has grown grapes since the 1850s; her great-grandparents planted grapes in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. “I had a miniature version of every conceivable farm tool—a child-sized hoe and so on—so that I could help with almost every part of growing the vines,” she says.

She remembers yearning to be older so that she could do even more of the farming. At dinner, the family ate and drank what they grew, and analyzed it for freshness, ripeness and balance, which helped her to develop her tasting ability. Having grown up among the vines, she says she has an intuitive feel for them: she can walk into any vineyard around the world, and within seconds assess its age and vitality.

Considered a leading force in the Canadian movement towards organic and biodynamic fine winemaking, Ann has over two decades of experience in winegrowing, winemaking and consulting for successful winery startups.

Ann prefers to think of herself as a “Winegrower,” instead of a winemaker. This vineyard-centric ideology is passionately applied to every facet of Southbrook’s winemaking philosophy, including its organic and biodynamic grape-growing practices, and gentle handling in the winery.


To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the

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