March 4, 2019 | Angela Chapman
Diamonds in My Wine
Have you ever had a bottle of white wine, perfectly chilled, only to find a diamond in it?!?!
Not... sadly not that kind of diamond....
We are talking about the diamonds that look to be sediment in the bottom of your bottle or glass.
These particles could be tartaric crystals, what we in the industry affectionately refer to as Wine Diamonds. People tend to notice the particles more towards the end of the bottle and they will only appear after the wine has been chilled. The formation of tartaric crystals in wine is common and has nothing to do with the quality of the wine. However, we do take extra steps to try and prevent their formation because a lot of people might see these particles and assume that the wine has gone bad. This is not the case.
So, what is happening in your wine? Tartaric acid occurs naturally in many fruits including grapes. In most cases the tartaric acid stays in its liquid from in the wine and can add citrus-y notes to it. However, we tend to chill white wine, and when the wine is chilled to temperatures around 40°F the tartaric acid compounds will naturally combine with potassium to form a crystal. Like I said previously, we do what we can to prevent this from happening. Our one big defense against wine diamonds is to have the wine undergo cold stabilization before we bottle. We lower the temperature of the wine to force the crystals to form and then filter them off. However, this doesn't always prevent the crystals form forming.
If they do form, rest assured that drinking them will not hurt you, but if you don't want them, pouring the wine slowly will keep the crystals in the bottle and out of your glass.
- Written by Angela Chapman, WSET III
Edited by fellow wino Mariam Copeland