Is there glycerol in wine?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is there glycerin in wine?

—Timothy, Atlanta

Dear Timothy,

Glycerol (also known as glycerin and glycerine) is a non-toxic byproduct of fermentation, and a trace amount is present in most wines. Glycerin is a viscous, colorless and odorless liquid and gives wine a fuller, more pleasant texture. There’s also a slight sweetness to glycerin, which is considered a positive, as it’s able to help smooth a wine’s harshness.

The type of wine grape, how ripe it is and what kind of yeast it's fermented with can all impact how much glycerol a wine has. Temperature and nitrogen levels can also have an effect. Glycerol is also available to home winemakers as an additive to increase viscosity and sweetness. According to the TTB, however, it is not legal to add additional glycerol to commercial wine.

Other alcohol products might allow limited amounts of added glycerol, and it’s used as a sweetener in dairy products, sweets, jams and energy bars. It can also be added as a food thickener, or to keep food moist.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Winemaking Techniques Explained

More In Dr. Vinny

My wine fridge has an odor. Is it safe to store my wines inside plastic bags?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips on cleaning a wine cooler and bottle storage.

Jan 22, 2020

What's the best way to warm up a cold glass of wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for warming up a glass of wine.

Jan 20, 2020

What is a "grower" Champagne?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what a récoltant-manipulant is, and what makes …

Jan 17, 2020

How do you identify flavors in wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how.

Jan 15, 2020

How long does an open bottle of red wine keep?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains oxidation, and how to delay it.

Jan 13, 2020

After using a Coravin, should a wine bottle still be stored on its side?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that basic storage rules still apply when using …

Jan 8, 2020
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search