Ask Wine Wizard

Increasing A Wine’s Mouthfeel


Rikki Fremont — Seattle, Washington asks,

How can I increase the mouthfeel in my wine? My wines, both red and white, just seem to be very thin.


I feel ya! (Yes, pun intended.) Since I don’t have much space left in this column, let me break it down for you in bite-sized pieces. Much more food for thought and things to chew on for future columns. Here are some ways to increase mouthfeel along the winemaking timeline:

Harvest: Pick riper. Higher alcohol and lower acidity always make for rounder-feeling wines.

Fermentation: Ferment reds on oak pieces to start oak extraction early.

Aging: Stir up the lees to liberate mannoproteins, which are found in the cell walls of yeast. This technique always leads to a richer mouthfeel. Also consider some of the new enological tannins from Laffort, Enartis, or AEB. These products don’t make wine tannic per se, but can really fill in some holes.

Bottling: Lower residual carbon dioxide levels. Higher CO2 levels will be perceived as sharp and angular, not round. Also, if you can sterile filter, try bottling with a little residual sugar, like 2–4 g/L. This “sub-threshold” sugar doesn’t come across as sweet but rather as round.

Response by Alison Crowe.