Artisan Winemaking: Tannin Talks

“Tannins.” It’s an iconic word in wine enthusiast conversations, but its real meaning and use often remains unclear. This masterclass will review the importance of tannins, where they come from and how to recognize them, as well as explore their impact on the artisan winemaking processes at Augusta Vin.

What are Tannins?

Source: Tannins can be found naturally in a grape’s own composition within the fruit’s skin, seeds, & stems. Tannins can also be imbued during oak fermentation, as wood (like grape stems) also exchange tannins with the barreled juice.

What are they for?: Tannins add structure and balance to wine in many ways. With them, wines have complexity and improve structure to encourage a long life and better aging potential. It is also considered by many wine scholars as one of the most valuable health traits in wine.

What do they taste like?: Tannins on their own taste dusty and bitter, as their natural structure dries out your tongue and taste buds. Comparable to the taste of a black tea bag after it has brewed, tannins can exaggerate a wine’s dryness and add an herbaceous note to the palate.

Tannins and winemaking: Structurally, tannins are used for antioxidation, softening, improving clarification, reducing character minimization, and protecting or stabilizing color. During the winemaking process, we endeavor to make the most out of the natural tannins provided by the grapes themselves to reduce the need for additional oak tannins.

What makes our wine "Artisanal?"

artisanal - adjective

1: of, relating to, or characteristic of an artisan,
2: produced in limited quantities by an artisan through the use of traditional methods

At Augusta Vin, our approach to wine is founded on quality. With over a decade of international experience, our artisan winemaker Dane Sanvido applies hands on traditional methods to care for every vintage, varietal, and blend from crush to bottle. These are only a few of the unique techniques used at the Augusta Vin facility!

Open Top Fermentation: During the early stages of fermentation, we use open-top fermenters to encourage natural fermentation, as it increases oxygen contact with the grapes, skin, and juice to help build natural yeast. This helps keep the positive fermentation alive and circulating, preventing yeast from going dormant early (an issue called “stuck fermentation.”). Without a top, the heat byproduct of fermentation is able to escape naturally and maintain the temperature within the container. This process is excellent for small production, artisan fermentation.

Punch Downs: Because we use Open-Top Fermenters, we are also able to run “punch downs,” which lets us crush red grapes by hand. Because we are able to manually manage the process, rather than mechanize through the “pour over” technique, we can oversee and ensure the ideal interaction between skins and juice during the initial fermentation process. Because we know that skins provide not only the color in red wine, but most of the natural tannins, the punch down process offers richer color and flavor in the wine’s final product.

Racking: Once in barrel, our wine goes through a process called “Racking,” or siphoning the wine from one holding tank or barrel to separate the developing wine from its lees. Lees are the deposits of residual yeast that collect at the bottom of a wine’s holding vessel. Leaving wine “on the lees” for too long results in a bitter flavor, so we regularly “rack” the wine from one barrel to a fresh barrel with no lees to maintain the quality we are seeking in each wine. This process also helps to manage and reduce unwanted filtration that strips wine flavor.

Estate Fruit: According to Texas Wine Laws, “Estate” wines are crafted 100% from grapes grown and maintained on the winery’s own land. In our case, the Augusta Vin Estate vineyard is on the same property as the production facility. You can read more about Estate laws and our fruit in our Masterclass Blog here!

Coming Soon – Bubbles!: We are excited to announce that development our first Sparkling wine is underway! Our sparkling wines will be produced via the Charmat method, a closely-managed tank fermentation that allows our Sparkling wine to be crafted in our own facility, continuing to our dedication artisan Estate winemaking. The Charmat method develops a fresh and lively flavor in sparkling wines. We look forward to adding a release to the menu soon!

Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Deductive Tasting Practice

Email to learn more and compare notes!


Clarity: Clear

Concentration: Moderate-plus

Color: Purple, Ruby hues


Intensity: Elegant profile

Age: Young

Fruit: Black plum, dark cherry

Non-Fruit: Fennel

Earth/Herb: Anise, black pepper


Sweetness: Dry

Fruit: Cassis, Black plum, Dark cherry

Non-Fruit: Fennel, Cedar

Earth/Herb: Slate, nutmeg, cocoa powder

Bitterness: Low

Acid: Moderate

Alcohol: Medium

Finish: Full body, long finish, lush tannins

To compliment this Cab’s dark fruits, we recommend serving alongside Gorgonzola burgers, braised lamb shanks, roasted chicken with port sauteed figs, or filet mignon with shitake mushrooms. For dessert, enjoy this wine with raspberry macaroons!

Tasting Notes by:
Andre Boada, Advanced Sommelier – Augusta Vin
April Fischer, Sommelier – Augusta Vin, Tasting Room Manager

Now Available - Virtual "Sommelier" Tasting Packages

Crafted by trained Augusta Vin sommeliers, this downloadable “Virtual Sommelier” seminar gives you in-home resources toward learning the art of deductive tastings. We designed informative, deductive tasting mats that unlock the taste like a professional sommelier mystery. It also creates an enlightening way to stay safe with friends and family by hosting an in-home educational experience. Sets have two tasting platforms, white or red, using three sommelier selected wines from the Augusta Vin portfolio.

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