After a recent party, Mandi ended up with an extra tetra pak of wine (20 Bees) intended as a gift from on guest to another. Eventually the forgotten wine ended up at my place and then ultimately in our tummies.
Upon emptying the box we noticed it was rattling as if it were full of sand. Dumping this sand out, it appeared to be sand made out of crushed glass. Not sharp, but hard and clear and seemingly non soluble in liquid. In fact we couldn’t see how it could be anything other than glass. Perhaps it had been in the grapes and had been ground down in the grape crushing process. Curious, Mandi sent the winery this letter:
“Dear 20 Bees,
My partner and I were finishing off a tetra of your 2005 Grower’s red, and were a bit concerned to hear the empty carton rattling. After some inverted shaking we discovered a clear, hard, granular, glass-like substance coming out of the carton.
Is this normal, or do we have future careers as glass eaters at a circus?
Eagerly awaiting your reply, as the circus is leaving town soon, and we need to know if we should go with them.
Their reply was interesting:
“Thanks for you email….with regards to you question; what you found is not glass. The crystal like substance that you have found is a known as Tartrate Crystals or Wine Diamonds. The are caused by unstable tartaric acid and malic acid (natural acidity found in grapes and wines) that precipitate over time. As this is a cosmetic issue, all wineries attempt to force the unstable precipitation of these acids in our tanks prior to bottling. This process can take up to 3 to 5 weeks, and is done by chilling the wine down to – 4 C. Once the precipitation is completed, we filter and then bottle or in this case, package the product. Now over time, especially in med to full bodied reds, the precipitation of tannins during the aging of the wine will alter the pH and other parameters in the wine, which may cause further unstable precipitation of acids, and this is what you are experiencing. According to wine writers such as Tony Aspler, wine diamonds are an indication of a good wine.
We will continue to strive to improve our quality control and hope that this has not deterred you from our products in the future.
20 Bees Winery Retail”
Who knew? Probably a lot of wine connoisseurs. Myself, I was dubious about the vinters’ claim so I checked the internet and found wine diamonds are indeed a real thing and not a ridiculous cover up. They actually give Germans who go by Weinstien (wine stone) their name. Who knew? Probably the Germans.
Thank you for your reply. That’s very interesting. Wine diamonds, fancy. I am not deterred from future purchases of your product, but I am little disappointed to learn that I will not have a career with the circus.
Thanks again, Mandi
I’m kind of sad we’re not joining the circus as well.