Using Wine Tannins

Using Wine Tannins

by Bob Peak

In 2011 we introduced a new group of professional grade products to our home winemaking customers. Those enzymes, tannins, and specialized yeast nutrients have been very popular over the past two harvests and we are delighted to continue offering them.

We have used all of the new products in our own homemade wines and we have received many happy reports from customers who have also used them. As we reviewed the applications and improvements we have covered so far, we realized there were a few more areas of winemaking where we could borrow from the pros to pass along to our hobbyists. With that in mind, we are proud to introduce another new group of wine enhancement products for 2013. In the descriptions below, you will find the tannin products we already carry plus two new offerings.

Fermentation Tannins

Since 2011, we have made available FT Rouge Soft (for reds) and FT Blanc Soft (for whites) for use as sacrificial tannins to be used during primary fermentation. They provide improved color, protection against oxidation, and improved mouthfeel. For the end of wine production, we offer Tannin Riche 100% French Oak finishing tannin, useable up to three weeks before bottling. Tannin Riche fills out mid-palate character, adds French oak notes, and can even impart a perception of sweetness. (Check in your goodie bag for a trial sample.)

The following products are used after fermentation, and prior to bottling:

Cellaring Tannins

For Red Wines: Tannin Complex. Derived from both traditional oak and the exotic South American tree Quebracho, this blend is more thoroughly polymerized (and therefore less reactive) than more aggressive tannin products. During wine aging, it helps protect against oxidation while enhancing tannin structure and aiding color stability. After cellaring is mostly complete, it can further be applied (like Tannin Riche) as a finishing tannin three to six weeks before bottling.

Use Rate: 1 to 6 grams for every 5 gallons of wine for cellaring; use a reduced rate closer to bottling (about ½ to 2 grams for every 5 gallons).

How to Use: For best integration with the wine, apply in the cellar. At the first or second racking after primary fermentation, mix the powder into the wine as you transfer it. For finishing, add during another racking a few weeks prior to bottling. Thorough mixing will improve results.

For White, Rosé, and Red Wines: Tannin Refresh. This unique tannin product is derived from untoasted French oak. Because of its origin and method of production, it imparts a light oak nuance without smoky or toasty character. It can be used when wine is aged in older neutral barrels or in tanks or carboys. It is effective in protecting against oxidation and it also helps preserve color when present. In any wine, it can increase the complexity of the finish.

Use Rate: ½ to 4 grams for every 5 gallons of wine.

How to Use: If the wine is to undergo malolactic fermentation, wait until that is over before adding Tannin Refresh. If malolactic fermentation is not applied, add the tannin at the end of alcoholic fermentation. Mix measured dose gradually with the wine during the first racking. Continue with a normal cellaring and racking program for the rest of the aging period.


In 2011 we introduced a new group of professional grade products to our home winemaking customers. Those enzymes, tannins and specialized yeast nutrients have been very popular ever since.