Wine 101: What is Wine?

5. Additives
In modern winemaking, additives have become a common part of the wine recipe. Some additives have long historical roots, others are more recent additions to the winemaker's list of ingredients, all of which can be used to “improve” wines. Here's a brief rundown of what else may have been added to your next glass of wine.

Enzymes are added to fermenting wine to help prevent the growth of bad yeasts that can cause wine spoilage. There are even enzymes that improve the formation of sediment in young wines, allowing for better filtering, and thus leading to higher yields. You can observe this kind of sediment in a wine like Beaujolais Nouveau.

Polysaccharides are added to promote the retention of color, tannin, and flavoring compounds extracted from grape skins.

Gum Arabic is added to wine to lock in the aromatic compounds in a wine, but it also adds richness, which has become its main propose.

Sulfur products are used as an anti-oxidative preservative in wine. These are products that have long histories in winemaking, and are actually one of the wine additives that we’re seeing less, not more, of as winemakers develop a better understanding of what a sufficient dose of SO2 is.

Wine ingredients like these are listed on the wine labels.

Next: Fining Agents »

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