Do you ever find sediment in your wine bottles? That sediment or sludge as I’ve heard it referred too, is Tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is an organic acid in grapes and when the grapes are made into wine, the acid will crystallize. Experienced wine drinkers often refer to these crystals as “Wine Diamonds” or “Tartrates.”
Winemakers around the globe use a process called cold stabilization to ensure that the wine will not drop tartrates. This won’t change the composition of the wine, but will make it look good on the shelf and cause less confusion to the average wine drinker.
Some of our wines at Northern Vineyards have tartrates because we do not have the cold stabilization equipment. We try to use the weather to cold stabilize our wines. We do have “cold room” and we also have a deck that we put our wine out on in the winter. The trouble with using the weather is that we cannot guarantee that it will be consistently below freezing for two weeks. You would think that living in Minnesota we could, but such is not the case.
You may be wondering what to do with a wine with tartrates. Well you can do nothing as those tartrates are harmless and tasteless. However, if you prefer to not have them in your glass, simply use a decanter with a filter or a pourer with a filter. This will prevent the tartrates from getting in your glass.
So the next time you see those crystals in your wine, you can tell your friends about “Wine Diamonds.” You may also be surprised to know that those little crystals are most likely sitting on your spice shelf in your kitchen. You know them as Cream of Tartar.