Thoughts on Sediment in Wine | Nov 26, 2017 | By Christian Palmaz
Have you ever wondered why there is what looks like sediment or crystals on the bottom of your cork or on the inside of the bottle? Or why some wines seem to have more than others? You certainly aren’t alone. We receive a handful of emails every year asking these exact questions. Let’s deep dive into the interesting world of why wines form crystals.
First of all, the crystals, or precipitated tartrates (KHT Potassium Bitartrates) as they’re formally called, are completely normal. In fact they are considered by many a sign of balanced winemaking. Even though most high-end wines are filtered to less than a micron just prior to bottling, solids form when potassium and tartaric acid, both naturally occurring components in grapes, bind together to form a crystal. The crystal tends to prefer growth on rough vs smooth surfaces hence it’s deposition on the cork’s bottom. This sea-salt like substance is completely harmless and natural. They do tend to form somewhat faster in wines cellared at colder temperatures (below 40F).