What are Tannins, Really?



by Anne Krebiehl MW

/ Wine Enthusiast

What are Tannins, Really?

Tannins, a group of bitter and astringent compounds, can be found abundantly in nature. They’re present in the wood, bark, leaves and fruit of plants as various as oak, rhubarb, tea, walnut, cranberry, cacao and grapes.


Perhaps most importantly, they’re also found in wine.


Anne Krebiehl MW (WineEnthusiast Contributing Editor) explains us in the WineEnthusiast Wine Mag what are really the Tannins?

Peaux de raisin et résidus, également connus sous le nom de marc, extrait d'une cuve en inox d'un domaine après extraction du jus.

What do tannins do?

Plants have tannins to make themselves unpalatable. Their purpose in nature is to deter animals from eating a plant’s fruit or seeds before it’s ripe.


Tannins are responsible for that astringent, mouth-coating feeling you get from biting into an unripe pear or plum. Humans have used tannins from various tree barks for a long time to tan animal hides and make leather.


Some foods are also prized for their tannins. Their bitterness and astringency, when managed well, can be rather pleasant. Examples include tea, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, wine.



< Grape skins and residue, also known as pomace, being tipped out of a winery’s stainless steel barrel after the juice has been extracted.



ANNE KREBIEHL MW / @AnneInVino / WineEnthusiast

Reviews wines from Austria, Alsace and England.

Illustrations - Matthew Dimas / Photos - Getty

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