Definition - What does Anthocyanins mean?

While Anthocyanins do not influence the taste of the wine directly, they are big influencers of the structural compounds of wine and influence the aging process. There is also a correlation between wine color and the concentration of anthocyanins, since their cells are located right underneath the grape’s skin.

Anthocyanins are naturally occurring compounds that are divided into five groups:

  • Petunins
  • Cyanins
  • Peonins
  • Delphinins
  • Malvins

WineFrog explains Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are responsible for the red, blue and purple colors in fruits and flowers, they have no flavor but contribute to the tannins, aging and retention in wine. Due to the unique chemical makeup of Anthocyanins, they are able to change concentration depending on viticulture practices and environmental conditions since their synthesis is stimulated by exposure to UV light. When the anthocyanins interact with other must components, the pigment changes in the wine, they also change as the wine ages.

The concentration of anthocyanins in all five groups are higher in organic vineyards than in conventionally grown plots. The proportion of anthocyanins influence the color of the wine, since they are pigment molecules that absorb UV light and protect the plants from oxidants and radiation. Anthocyanins also have higher concentrations in the skin of black grapes and reach a maximum concentration 28 days after the growing period with the highest temperatures (varaison) before declining until harvest.

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