Wine Tannin FAQs

When is the best time to add tannins? How do I add them?

Tannins are best added early in the winemaking process. In red wine, an addition during the fermentation stage integrates tannin into the wine and offers the greatest opportunity for color stability and increased mid-palate structure. They can be added at the crusher or to the tank during the first pump-over, depending on the grape quality (rotten vs. sound). Additional tannin can be added with each pumpover. If adding to a white wine, add directly to the grapes at the crusher or to the tank during a tank mixing.

I am using tannin and enzymes. Will SO2 interfere with my additions? Can I use tannins on white juice and wine?

Using all three products together is fine, but timing is important!  High SO2 content can inhibit enzyme activity. Do not add SO2 and enzymes at the same time. It is okay to add enzymes after the SO2 is adequately dispersed OR to add SO2 after the enzymes are adequately dispersed. Follow with a tannin addition six to eight hours later. When enzymes are not being used, add SO2 first, allow to disperse, then follow with the tannin addition.

Can I use tannins on white juice and wine?

Yes, a tannin addition in white juice may be beneficial to remove off-aromas, to improve clarification, to inhibit laccase activity from Botrytis or rot, or to serve as an anti-oxidant. We recommend using either Uva’Tan, Uva’Tan Soft, FT Blanc or FT Blanc Soft. Tannins can also be added later to wine to improve mid-palate structure or softness.

Why should I use tannins on my “premium” red grapes?

Tannins can be used to protect the color and phenolic structure of your wines. For the easiest and most efficient integration of tannins, add FT Rouge or FT Rouge Soft at the crusher. If needed, an addition of Uva’Tan, Uva’Tan Soft or Estate prior to aging can help reinforce phenolic balance. During long maturation in barrels, Estate will help prevent excessive oxidation that can result in loss of structure and freshness. For improved SO2 management add small amounts of Estate (5-7.5 g/hL) during each racking.

Will tannin additions increase color in low-color grape varieties?

Tannins do not add color to the must of low color grapes. Recent research indicates that early addition of tannins such as FT Rouge allows them to bind up available proteins. This preserves the grapes’ own natural tannins, making them available to bind with the grapes’ anthocyanins and thereby providing increased color stability.

Why not add oak chips? Aren’t they a source of accessible tannin?

Oak chips are a source of ellagic (wood) tannin. The level of tannin available will differ depending upon the wood source and the treatment regime. When using oak based products, macromolecules (lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, etc.) other than oak will be extracted. The oak based addition may help mask flavors, provide some oxidative protection and leave an oak finish, but they will NOT improve mid-palate structure. By contrast, the combination of wood and proanthocyanidic tannins in FT Rouge or FT Rouge Soft will help improve structure and color stability.

What if I did not add enough tannin during the primary fermentation?

If more tannin structure and flavor is desired post-fermentation, make additions with Complex or Estate. Addition is best before barrel aging when tannins can be incorporated into the wine and when oxidation and polymerization are slow. Refresh,Riche and Riche Extra are the best tannins to use prior to bottling (3-6 weeks) when a bit of oak influence is desired. Any of these tannins can be used throughout winemaking, depending on the desired effect. Bench trials are required to determine the best tannin for a particular wine or style.

Will adding tannins inhibit barrel aging?

Tannins protect wine from oxidation during barrel aging. The wood tannins extracted from a new barrel protect the wine from over-oxidation during the slow process needed for tannin polymerization and wine development. When using old barrels, indigenous tannin may have been completely leached out. A small tannin addition of 5-10 g/ hL of Tannin Estate or Tannin Refresh will act as an anti-oxidant and help protect the wine. Attaining a good phenolic profile will slow the maturation process and still protect the wine.

Can tannins help remove undesirable astringency or bitterness?

Yes. Over-astringency is caused by an imbalance of tannin molecules or by insufficiently bound tannin complexes. By adding a more refined, highly polymerized tannin to the wine, the imbalance can be corrected and the perception of astringency or bitterness reduced. This frequently improves the perception of fruit.

What if I only want to use pure grape tannin in my wine?

Uva’Tan (tannins from grape skins and seeds) and Uva’Tan Soft (tannins from grape skins only) are comprised of 100% grape tannin. All other tannins are sourced from a combination of grapes, exotic woods, oak or chestnut.

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