What is Tannin in Red Wine?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 at 12:00 am

red wineSome of you wine drinkers have heard it said before. Someone was offered a glass of red wine and says "I can’t drink that, the tannins contribute to my headache." What are tannins in the first place?  Where do they come from? Are tannins present only in red wine, or can you find them in other things as well?

The truth is, tannins are found in several other things. These include the leaves which are used in herbal tea as well as the different grapes used in various wines Tannins are a natural defensive by-product which is made by these plants in order to keep the herbivores from eating them. Long before they were recognized ingredients in wine, tannins were utilized to tan animal hides and make them into leather.

How tannin work?

The principle in which tannins work is by breaking down the digestive processes of those creatures which are trying to eat them.  Tannins essentially cause the predator’s mouth to have an astringent feeling (think of that puckery feeling in  your lips whenever you taste red wine). This consequence is what people usually talk about when they confess that they’re getting a headache from red wine.

There are those people who do look for red wines that have considerably less tannins. However, tannins are quite important to having a excellent red wine. Without these so-called tannins, red wine would become flavorless as well as bland. Tannins are able to give the illusion although more well-rounded, rich flavor in red wine. They also adjust and make the color of the red wine quite dark as well as make the rich red color that wine drinkers are accustomed to. If a particular type of wine did not contain any tannins, it just wouldn’t be the same. Therefore having tannins is essential in any red wine.

There are those people who think that drinking tannins will make you have a splitting headache. This is simply false. The real reason for it is actually having a high alcohol content in combination with tannins in the wine that gives you a headache.  Having high tannin content is a big factor for your headache, but simply put, without the alcohol the headache never really arrives. You could fight back a red wine headache by drinking a glass of water for each glass of red wine you consume. Another way of fighting off the headache is by taking plenty of Vitamin B.

For you to be able to put the alcohol consumption to your red wine headache into perspective, just think about the other fruits that you consume that have tannins but don’t give you a headache. You may be able to look to the different juices such as cranberry, blueberry, grape and strawberry. They all contain these so-called tannins, but virtually none of them give you a headache whenever you eat them or drink them..  Herbal teas have tannins, but no caffeine and no alcohol, and they also do not cause headache. It’s all about keeping your Vitamin B levels up as well as being dehydrated.