Understanding Tartrates in Wine: What Are Wine Diamonds?

When enjoying a glass of wine, have you ever noticed a powdery residue or sediment in wine at the bottom of the bottle or in your glass? Fear not, for those tiny particles are likely tartrates, a naturally occurring phenomenon in wine. In this Wine Wisdom post, we will delve into the world of tartrates in wine, demystify their presence, and explore their impact on both winemaking and the sensory experience.

Wine diamonds on a wine cork.

What are Tartrates in Wine? 

Tartrates, also known as wine diamonds or wine sediment, refer to the crystalline deposits that can form in wine over time. These tartrate crystals in wine are primarily composed of potassium bitartrate, the potassium salt of tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is a natural acid found in grapes and is a key component in the acidity of wine.


How are Tartrates Formed?

The formation of tartrates is a result of the wine's natural chemistry and changes in temperature. During the winemaking process, when grape juice undergoes fermentation, tartaric acid can combine with potassium ions present in the juice to form potassium bitartrate. Over time, as the wine ages, the concentration of these tartrate crystals in wine can increase, leading to their visible sedimentation.


What is The Purpose of Tartrates?

The presence of tartrates, or wine diamonds, actually indicates a more natural winemaking process. They form as a result of tartaric acid combining with potassium ions, and their appearance signifies that the wine has undergone minimal intervention during production. So, in a way, these "diamonds" are a mark of authenticity and quality.


Are Wine Diamonds Rare?

Wine diamonds aren't exactly rare, but their presence can vary depending on factors like the winemaking process and storage conditions. While you might not find them in every bottle, it's not uncommon to encounter these harmless crystals, especially in unfiltered or minimally processed wines.


Do Tartrates Affect Wine Quality?

Contrary to popular belief, tartrates are not indicative of poor quality or flawed wine. In fact, they can be seen as a positive attribute. When tartrates are present, it often suggests that the winemaker has chosen to minimize intervention in the winemaking process, allowing the wine to evolve naturally. Tartrates can be a testament to the authenticity and minimal manipulation of the wine, showcasing the true expression of the grapes and the winemaking region.


Can You Drink Wine Diamonds?

Absolutely! Wine diamonds, or wine sediment, are harmless crystalline deposits that naturally occur in wine. They may look intriguing, but they're perfectly safe to consume. So go ahead and enjoy your wine, diamonds and all!


Can I Remove Tartrates?

While tartrates are harmless and do not impact the wine's taste negatively, their presence can influence the wine's texture and mouthfeel.  If the presence of tartrates concerns you, there are simple ways to handle them.

What Methods Are Used to Remove Tartrates?

There are a few methods to remove tartrates if their presence bothers you. When pouring wine, leave a small amount in the bottle, allowing any sediment to settle before pouring the rest into your glass. Alternatively, using a wine filter or decanting the wine can help separate the crystals from the liquid, ensuring a sediment-free pour.

Tartrates in wine

The Skinny on Tartrates in Wine

Tartrates, those seemingly mysterious crystals in wine, also known as wine diamonds or wine sediment, are evidence of the natural processes involved in winemaking. While their presence may raise eyebrows, these crystals are harmless and can even be seen as a mark of quality. If you want to ensure you're sipping on quality wine, then shop our refreshingly crisp Wander and Ivy single-serve mini wine bottles today.