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Gum arabic vs. glycerine: let’s clarify

Dott.ssa Serena Belfante – Laboratory Manager

The taste of wine is always changing, and these variations have influenced consumer habits and preferences. However, there is one quality that resists this evolution unchanged: the roundness of wine.

The perception of roundness can be attributed to the amount of sugars, ethyl alcohol and polyalcohols contained in wines. Among the polyols, glycerol (or glycerine) stands out as the most abundant by-product of alcoholic fermentation after ethanol and carbon dioxide.

Specific additives can be used to best accentuate this characteristic. Adding synthetic glycerine is forbidden by law, but among the most widely used and permitted substances is gum arabic, a completely natural product with sweet organoleptic characteristics and, above all, non-fermentable. For this reason, it can be added shortly before the bottling stage, not before laboratory tests have been carried out to determine its dosage.

The law permits its use on finished wine and does not restrict its use, except in the United States, where the maximum dosage is limited to 5 g/l.

But its ability to enhance smoothness is only one of the many properties it can impart to wines. These include its stabilising effect, capable of preventing tartaric instability phenomena, as well as its ability to lower the sensation

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