User ID:

Remember me
Lost password?

Thursday Thorns
The OMG Set Likes What? Not So Fast, Please

By Charles Olken

Let me be honest. I like something different perhaps even more than the next guy. I have been writing about wine nigh on to forever, and one of great sources of excitement over those years has been seeing how things have changed, grown, gotten better, gotten worse. Never a dull moment.

No need to chronicle all that I have seen over those many years. We have all lived it together, and you all, or most of you anyhow, know what I am talking about. Sure, that are some Millenials out there who have never tasted an old and wonderful mature Cabernet or had a whiff of a great dry Chenin Blanc, but even most of the young folks I see in wine stores are growing their palates the same way I did. Taste, taste and taste. Keep creating tasting memories and points of focus, learn by doing, learn by reading, learn by listening, but mostly learn by tasting.

Now comes a report from Snooth that suggests the OMG set are barking up all kinds of strange trees. I don’t get it. Sure there are folks who like new varieties and new approaches. I find those folks all over the place, and most of them are not Millenials. One of the hot trends in wine, if you listen to those who like to make you think that they speak for the OMG set is “orange wines”. The way to make an orange wine is not to ferment orange juice, but to oxidize the daylights of a new wine until its color turns orangy, which is preciously close to brown except that the wine is still young and thus also has some golden highlights—hence “orange” for lack of a better descriptor.

The fact of the matter is that the OMG set does not like orange wine because it has never experience the wines of Radikon or Cornelissen or any of the other naturalists. Those wines are so rare that only a handful of insider geeks have ever even tasted them. Some of them are pretty interesting; some are not. This is not an attack on orange wine.

Rather, it is a challenge to those who say that wines like the most obscure and wide of traditional limits are the future of the wine biz or even the darlings of the OMG set to prove it. Everyone should like what they like, but let’s stop pretending that difference for difference’ sake is a wave of anything but comments on the willingness of those of us at the heart of the biz to keep expanding our universe to like some of those expansions. The next time one of my Chardonnay-swilling neighbors tell me how much they like wines that only the geeks have heard of will be the first. I am not holding my breath waiting.

And neither do I expect to hear those words from my overeducated, upwardly mobile children or from their overeducated upwardly mobile friends. Let them drink my Chards and Cabs, my Pinots and Zins. It’s a good thing I have a pretty supply of those staples because that is what they and their increasing disposable incomes are drinking.

The CGCW Experience - Take the Tour

Meet the New CGCW

For thirty-five years, Connoisseurs’ Guide has been the authoritative voice of the California wine consumer. With readers in all fifty states and twenty foreign countries, the Guide is valued by wine lovers everywhere for its honesty and for it strong adherence to the principles of transparency, unbiased, hard-hitting opinions. Now, it is becoming the California winelover’s most powerful online voice as well. And, our new features provide an unmatched array of advice and information for aficionados of every stripe.


by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:7/26/2012 9:11:02 AM

We agree! Not sure what camp others would put me in, not a newbie hipster and not a 30 year vet but I have tasted Gravner and Radikon and while I get that people find them interesting, I cannot imagine they or the wines like those, would ever be the next big thing. Deliciousness is what sells and interesting and delicious are far from the same thing.

by Patrick
Posted on:7/26/2012 3:56:47 PM

Nicely done. And I hope the designation "OMG set" catches on because it's wonderful.

Consider the source
by Blake Gray
Posted on:7/26/2012 5:20:58 PM

Charlie: Your basic flaw here was taking Snooth seriously.

Even though, as every single press release they send reminds us, Snooth is "the world's largest wine website." I once asked them for how they measured that and they hemmed and hawed. I believe it's measured in cubic centimeters.

No snide...
by Thomas Pellechia
Posted on:7/27/2012 7:13:17 AM

...remark about the OMG set or about Snooth; just to say that I agree 100% plus, if that's possible. In fact, Sam's post says it best: "...interesting and delicious are far from the same thing."


by TomHill
Posted on:7/30/2012 8:24:56 AM


   I really don't understand this post. First...I'm clueless (have been pretty much my whole life) about who the OMG set is. Are these the young/new wine folks that are embracing odd varieties, low alcohol wines, wines of balance...all the current faddish stuff??? Some of us ole fogeys are interested in those things as well.

   You seem to suggest the OMG set is embracing orange wines as a new/trendy thing. Yet, you go on to state that they don't like orange wines because they've never had a Radikon or Gravner orange wine. Am I missing something there??

   Orange wines are a subset of a broader class of wines....white wines made by extended skin contact (from a few days to over a year). Often made from varieties that have a bit of pigmentation (like PinotGris, GWT, Trosseau, Ribolla), especially when quite ripe. Traditionally, like Georgia, Radikon, Gravner, etc) by dumping the grapes in amphorae/qvervi and then letting it go at the fermentation. Which will give it some pigmentation and, oftentimes, a brownish/burnished bronze color, from the oxidation and the non-SO2 usage.

   But you can make skin-contact whites in a reductive don't have to oxidize the hell out of them. I would cite the CowanCellars Isa LakeCnty SauvBlanc. Made w/ skin-contact throughout the fermentation...but in a reductive manner. It has a pale orange color from the skin contact...but no oxidative notes whatsoever. The LakeCnty SauvBlanc character is pretty much obliterated, so those who worship at the altar of varietal typicity do not appreciate it (not sure where the OMG set stands on it). Anyway..worth trying.



by Charlie Olken
Posted on:7/30/2012 10:29:18 AM


The editorial is a reaction to a comment on Snooth about wines that the "OMG" set like. They define, I presume, the OMG set as the new young drinkers, and among the half dozen types worthy of mention for the OMG set were "orange wines"

Whether one likes or does not like "orange wines", I find it incredulous to even suggest that the new young drinkers, who are still cutting their eye teeth, still learning the basics thw way most of us did when we started, have even the slightest passing interest in "orange wines".

That was how I got to the points in the editorial. As I said, there was no intention to comment one way or the other on orange wines. But the next time that the average upwardly mobile young drinker walks into Trader Joes or Sherry Lehmann and asks for an orange wine will likely the first.

by TomHill
Posted on:7/30/2012 1:01:59 PM

Thanks, Charlie. That makes a whole lot more sense w/ that background. I hadn't bothered to read the Snooth article. Me bad. should try the CowanCllrs Isa SauvBlanc. Quite an interesting wine.



Orange Is As Orange Does
by Charlie Olken
Posted on:8/1/2012 11:27:34 AM

Hi Tom--

Thanks for the heads up the Cowan Cellars Isa SB.

Will try to track it down


Leave a comment below, but please limit your comments to 1,200 characters or less. We find it helpful to make a copy of our comments to be sure that they fit. In that way, you can edit them if they run long.

(Please note: your e-mail address will not be visible after posting)



Note: Refresh your browser to see your latest comments.

Having technical problems with the comment system? Click here.