The Origin Of Wine Gums

The son of a London sweetshop owner, Charles Gordon Maynard wanted to create a sweet that could be savoured like a fine wine. The “wine gum” plan nearly backfired because his father, Charles Riley Maynard was a strict Methodist teetotaller who threatened to expel him from the business for introducing wine to his products.  But the ”wine” label was merely a ruse. The only flavourings wine gums contain are derived from fruit. Launched by Maynard’s in 1909, by 2002 they were selling more than £40 million a year.

What’s in Wine Gums?

Glucose Syrup (contains Sulphites), Sugar, Starch, Gelatine, Acids (Malic Acid, Acetic Acid), Colours (Anthocyanins, Vegetable Carbon, Paprika Extract, Lutein, Curcumin), Flavourings, Vegetable Oils (Palm Kernel, Coconut, Sunflower), Glazing Agent (Carnauba Wax).

Make your own


  • 225ml (8fl oz) water
  • 20g (3/4oz) powdered gelatine
  • 250g (9oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid
  • 6–10 drops of food colouring (you’ll need 3–5 drops per colour – try yellow, orange, pink, green or black)
  • 1 tsp flavouring (you’ll need 1/2 tsp per flavour – try lemon, orange, strawberry, mint or anise)
  • nonstick baking spray, for greasing


  1. Put 125ml (4fl oz) of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining water with the sugar. Bring to the boil and continue to boil
  3. until the temperature on a sugar thermometer reads 130.C (266.F), the hardball stage. Take off the heat.
  4. Whisk in the gelatine mixture until fully dissolved, then stir in the citric acid.
  5. If you want to make Wine Gums of various flavours and colours, separate the mixture into the required number of different bowls at this stage. With this quantity of the mixture, 2 batches of colours/flavours work well, so use 3–5 drops of each of 2 colours and 1/2 teaspoon of each of 2 flavours. Work quickly as the wine gum mixture will set rapidly.
  6. Thoroughly mix in the colouring and flavouring, then carefully pour the mixture into silicone sweet moulds in the
  7. shape and size of your choice sprayed with nonstick baking spray.
  8. Leave the sweets to set for 1 hour, then remove them from the moulds and store in an airtight container.