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Grape Tannin comes from the skins and of grapes. Wines that are fermented with the skins (such as red wines) usually contain enough natural tannin. For other wines (such as fruit wine), you may want to consider adding tannins. Tannins give wine the extra character or 'spunk' that it may otherwise be lacking. It causes the "dryness" in the mouth phenomenon, as it actually modifies the saliva in the mouth by removing the lubrication in the saliva.

The chemical process in which tannins modifies saliva is actually quite interesting. The tannin molecules combine with the protein molecules in our saliva--destroying the saliva's ability to lubricate the mouth. The amount, or extent in which the tannins may cause astringency is a strong function of the polymerization of the tannin molecule. Typically, as a wine ages, the degree polymerization of the tannin actually increases for the fist few years--so wines will be more tannic in this stage. But, once the tannin molecules reach a high degree of polymerization, they actually begin to lose the capability to combine with the proteins in saliva--so the astringency associated with the tannin will be decreased, while the favorable characteristic of the tannin will be maintained. In addition, during this period some of the tannins will begin participate out of the wine. At this point, the wine has reached its ideal period in which to drink--known as the "maturity plateau".

Tannin additives can be purchased from most wine supply stores as additives.

  • Tip: Regular black tea can be used to add tannins to wine. Use 1/2 teaspoon per half-gallon.

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