Chicken-wire chemistry for winegrowers and winemakers

If one attends the winemaking sessions at Wineries Unlimited, they’ll quickly realize the presenters know their chemistry. Be prepared for slides with chicken wire-like images of molecules representing tannins, proteins and others. Speaker Clark Smith, who during his sixty-minute presentation made three statements that I didn’t understand any of the words in the sentences, challenged my comfort zone. The rest I could follow. Presenter James A. Kennedy also used chicken wire-like images in his presentation, but did an excellent job explaining it for those in the audience that didn’t have a chemistry degree.

Both speakers emphasized the importance that tannins play in all aspects of red wine. Tannins influence a red wine’s aroma, flavor, taste, mouth feel, and finish. The actual chicken-wire chemistry, although presented, doesn’t detract from the conclusions on what winegrowers and winemakers can do to aid in the development of skin tannins and minimize the effect of seed tannins on the wine.



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