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What Are Wine Tannins? – Wine 101 Videos (Ep. 6)

Unveil the mysteries of wine tannins. You’ll never drink wine the same way again!

Tannins are actually the only proven thing in wine that's good for you.

You’d be surprised by how many folks still think wine tannins cause headaches! The truth is that tannins are surprisingly good. So, what are they? And, why are they so “good?”

Wine Tannins

The term “tannins in wine” describes several classes of phenolic compounds. These include non-flavonoid phenolics (ellagitannin) and flavonoid phenolics (condensed tannins, catechins, anthocyanins).

In other words, the stuff that tastes bitter and astringent in wine is tannin!

All of the wines displayed are high in tannins. That said, there’s quite a range, even on this end of the spectrum!

Tannins are found primarily in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes. Actually, they’re found in all kinds of plants! A few more examples of tannin including plants (that you can eat) include apples, walnuts, green tea, and dark chocolate.

Tannins are part of a plant’s natural defense against pests, disease, and UV radiation. And, they’ve proven to be surprisingly good for humans too.

  • Condensed tannins (epicatechin and catechin – found in bold, astringent red wines) have been shown to reduce cholesterol in humans.
  • Ellagitannin (found in oak barrels and muscadine grapes) has been shown to fight obesity in overweight mice.

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About Madeline Puckette

I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me out there in the wine world @WineFolly