Sediments in Wine

What are the Sediments in Wine and How to Remove Them Easily

Sediments in wine are small particles that can be seen deposited at the base of a bottle. Wondering what are these made of and how to remove them? Read on.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2018
Sediments deposited at the base of a wine bottle is a good sign, and not a sign of any impurity. They are a sign of a good 'aged' wine. These natural deposits at the base of a bottle show that the wine is of outstanding quality and aged. This development is not visible in young wines.

White Wine Sediments

Wondering what are sediments at the bottom of a wine bottle called? The sediments seen in white wine are called the wine crystals. These particles are actually a composite of crystals, which are chemically denominated as tartaric acid. These sediments don't affect taste or olfactory property of the wine. However, if a red wine is filtered, then its color can get affected due to mechanical filtration. Hence, all good quality red wines are never filtered. Though any customer will buy a bottle of red wine that does not appear brilliant and lucid, so how does red wine gets these sediments?

Red Wine Sediments

Every wine has to be categorized after it has gone through the process of fermentation. While making high quality red wines, they are filtered with the white of egg. After the fermentation process, the skin and seeds of the grapes which still blind are separated from the liquid. Many egg whites are spread into a cask that contains liters of this wine. The loose materials suspended in the liquid then fall at the bottom of the cask, which takes around a week. Then, using a racking-filtration method, the egg whites are removed from the wine.

Though this process is not as efficient as mechanical filtration used in wine making, that helps to remove particles from the wine, it is less damaging to the wine as small particles of the skin and seed still remain in the wine. As a wine ages, these particles merge with it, and later settle down at the base of the bottle. These deposits are dark red in color and are natural particles. These solid materials are a sign of an unfiltered and old vintage bottle. The sediment are harmless, and it's okay if one happens to drink them. However, the taste can be very strong and the particles might get stuck in the teeth. Hence, one should remove these particles to avoid any unpleasant drinking experience or something floating in a glass while serving to the guests. To remove the sediments in wine, the process of decanting is done. Here are the steps on decanting, which you can do easily at home.

Decanting
  • Before you start decanting any wine, let it sit on a table for at least one day so that all the sediments settle down well at the bottom of the wine.
  • Open the wine bottle very gently so that the sediments in the bottle are least disturbed.
  • Now light a candle on the table, and with one slow and steady motion of the hand pour the wine from the bottle into a decanter. You can use a basic decanter, however, if you find pouring from it difficult then you can buy a duck decanter from a wine accessories store.
  • While pouring the liquid, keep the neck of the bottle over the candle, so you can see if any fine sediments are passing into the decanter.
  • Stop pouring the liquid if you see any sediments falling into the decanter.
  • Make sure you let the wine breathe in the decanter before serving it.
Sediments are not harmful if swallowed, however it can give a very harsh taste as they are particles that have aged with the wine too. So, to avoid any particles floating in a glass or giving any harsh taste, you can always decant your wine bottles whenever you find any sediments in the wine.
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