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Water-soluble plant pigments that occur in many higher plants and give the flowers and fruits their red, violet, blue or blue-black colouring. They belong to the group of phenols (polyphenols), as well as to the large group of flavonoids, which number over 6,500 species. The name is derived from the Greek terms anthos (flower) and kyáneos (dark blue). Anthocyanins are the glycosides (sugar compounds) of the sugar-free anthocyanidins, the actual colouring components. The sugar molecules (glycones) cause the water solubility of the colour pigments. There are about 250 different anthocyanins. In wine, they are mainly the glycosides of cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, peonidin and petunidin.

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