Have you ever wondered about crystal sediment in your wine glass, but were afraid to ask?
Relax; the answer is really about simple (well, not completely) chemistry and understanding the phenomenon.
According to Holman Ranch Vineyard in Carmel Valley, the crystal sediment you might find in a wine glass is called tartrate and forms from tartaric acid in grapes.
Not all fruit has tartaric acid and its presence in grapes is what allows winemakers to make better wines. Because this acid doesn’t remain dissolved in alcohol as easily as it does in grape juice, it binds to potassium after fermentation and forms the crystalline solids that create the sediment in your glass.
Red wines probably have been exposed to cold temperatures less than white wines so they are more likely to form these tartrate crystals. In theory, all wines should form tartrate sediment but modern wine production has introduced cold stabilization and find filtrate which remove almost all the tartrates.
The main thing you should know is that sediment in your wine glass or wine bottle won’t hurt you if you drink it and it’s not going to ruin the flavor of your wine. So, there is no need to worry about the separating the crystals in wine before serving and drinking. However, there is no value to drinking this sediment.
Holman Ranch wine wizards also recommend refrigerating your wine only until it is ready to be enjoyed.