The mouthfeel of white wine

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;58(17):2939-2956. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1346584. Epub 2017 Aug 22.


White wine mouthfeel which encompasses the tactile, chemosensory and taste attributes of perceived viscosity, astringency, hotness and bitterness is increasingly being recognized as an important component of overall white wine quality. This review summarizes the physiological basis for the perception of white wine mouthfeel and the direct and interactive effects of white wine composition, specifically those of low molecular weight phenolic compounds, polysaccharides, pH, ethanol, glycerol, dissolved carbon dioxide, and peptides. Ethyl alcohol concentration and pH play a direct role in determining most aspects of mouthfeel perception, and provide an overall framework on which the other minor wine components can interact to influence white wine mouthfeel. Phenolic compounds broadly impact on the mouthfeel by contributing to its viscosity, astringency, hotness and bitterness. Their breadth of influence likely results from their structural diversity which would allow them to activate multiple sensory mechanisms involved in mouthfeel perception. Conversely, polysaccharides have a small modulating effect on astringency and hotness perception, and glycerol does not affect perceived viscosity within the narrow concentration range found in white wine. Many of the major sensory attributes that contribute to the overall impression of mouthfeel are elicited by more than one class compound suggesting that different physiological mechanisms may be involved in the construct of mouthfeel percepts.

Keywords: White wine; acidity; alcohol; mouthfeel; phenolics; polysaccharides; texture.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ethanol
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Sensation*
  • Taste
  • Wine*


  • Ethanol