Technique

Gum Arabic: Winemaking’s Secret Weapon

Gum arabic can do so many great things for your wines, from improving mouthfeel, making a thin wine taste fuller bodied, rounding out rough edges of grape tannins, increasing persistence of bubbles in sparkling wine, prolonging the action of metatartaric acid, to treating iron-induced oxidation problems. With such a wide scope of impressive credentials, what’s not to like? Sure, many winemakers might scoff at yet another additive, but gum arabic is a natural product widely used in the food and beverage industry and a permissible additive in commercial winemaking. And the great thing about home winemaking is that there are no boundaries, so experiment all you can. So why not give it a try in your home winemaking? What is gum arabic? Gum arabic, also known as gum acacia, is a natural glycoprotein-containing heteropolysaccharide extracted from the sap of two specific species of African Acacia trees: A. senegal and A. seyal. A heteropolysaccharide is a substance made up of many different saccharide units. In the case of gum arabic, the polymer is highly branched, consisting of arabinose, rhamnose and galactose