You have there in your neat little hands, a great bottle of Virginia wine. You’ve decided to hold on to it for a special occasion, and tonight’s dinner party is just the right time to serve this delicious and special wine. You pop the cork and pour. You expect your guests to relish in your brilliant choice of wine, marking you the host or hostess with the most or mostess, but alas, there’s something floating around in that glass. Is it bits of cork? Did you get bread crumbs in there? No, that’s wine sediment, and there’s a simple reason for why it’s there.
Wine sediment is a by-product of winemaking, and quite often is left there intentionally by the winemaker. This sediment is not dangerous, and is perfectly fine to consume (although not very slightly). But, what are they?
Proteins are microscopic causing wine to be cloudy. Proteins are generally removed with casein or benotite during stabilization (this is what keeps wine from being vegan as egg whites are used quite often to clarify wine).
Cream of Tartar
Potassium bitartrate aka wine crystals aka cream of tartar is commonly used in white wines to clarify them and give them that extra sparkle.
Lees are dead yeast particles that sink to the bottom of the tank or barrel. Winemakers will leave these yeast particles in the wine and stir the wine once a day to make the wine tast richer and creamier. Lees are also common in sparkling wine.
This is pretty rare, but worth mentioning. Sometimes a grape skin or two will make it into a bottle of wine. By the time it gets to your table, that grape skin will look a little more like slime.
Yes, these are all quite natural leftovers, but not everyone appreciates a slimy grape skin. If you examine your bottle before serving, and find there to be some unsavory floaties in the bottom, use an aerating wine funnel to remove the sediment, and to smooth out the aroma, texture and flavor.
It’s almost wedding season, and a bevy of celebrations are coming up! Consider a tour of wine country for your out-of-town guests to experience the beauty of Virginia wine country, or as a rehearsal party alternative. Whatever your need, ask us how we can accommodate you and your guests!