Skin Contact

Definition - What does Skin Contact mean?

Skin contact is part of the fermentation process when the skin of the grapes are in contact with the grape must. This skin contact allows for color, aroma, texture and flavors to be imparted into the finished wine. The anthocyanin compounds that lie within the skin's structure are what contribute color to the wine.

WineFrog explains Skin Contact

The skin of a grape is six to ten cells thick. For red wines, this membrane contains many elements. Inside the skin are components that include potassium, phenolic compounds and aromatic substances.

There are two types of phenolic compounds:

  1. Anthocyanins - pigment compounds that give the fruit its color and what gives the wine its color during skin contact in the fermentation process.
  2. Tannin - This is present in the skin as well as the seeds. It is what gives wine an astringent/bitter taste, but what can later give a wine its texture and mouthfeel. Tannin can best be described as the compound that leaves the tongue dry after sipping a dry red wine.
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