What are wine diamonds in white wine? You might spy these crystals forming in the bottom of your glass. Should you worry about them? Is the wine still OK to drink? Relax! These are nothing more than tartrate crystals in wine. They’re perfectly natural, they don’t impact the flavor of the wine and consuming them is perfectly safe.
What Is a Wine Diamond?
You may see these in the bottom of a glass or bottle of wine from time to time. They actually form in red wines, too. They’re just more likely and more visible in white wines for a number of reasons. Wine diamonds form when potassium bonds with tartaric acid. A crystal forms as a result.
Why Do Wine Diamonds Appear in White Wine?
Now, why are wine diamonds in white wine more visible? Firstly, a more acidic wine is more likely to produce a few more wine diamonds. Secondly, chilling wine – as one often does with white wines – helps these crystals form. Finally, white wine is simply clearer – it’s much easier to see these crystals than in red wines.
There is a process to remove these crystals, but it’s controversial as to whether this impacts the quality of the wine that results. It involves chilling the wine to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a large tank. After a few weeks, any wine diamonds that would form have sunk to the bottom. These are then removed, but there’s a great deal of debate as to whether this sabotages the flavor and mouthfeel of the wine.
This is used in most mass production wineries to create a standard product – too many people become alarmed at wine diamonds because they don’t know what they are. It’s avoided at smaller, more specialized wineries because these wineries don’t want to negatively impact taste or experience.
Can I Avoid These Crystals in My Wine?
The best way to minimize the presence of wine diamonds is to ensure that you don’t over-chill your wine. A standard fridge cools to about 35 degrees. This is below the 40 degree mark that really encourages potassium to start bonding with tartaric acid. To avoid this, you can simply keep your wines in a wine cooler that’s set to 55 degrees. If you don’t have one, chill your wine for about half an hour in the fridge before serving. This will get it nice and cool, without sinking its temperature down too low.
If you still end up with wine diamonds despite your best efforts, remember that you don’t have to worry about them. They’re easy to avoid drinking, safe to consume if you do, and having them in the wine is better for the wine than taking them out through standardization processes.