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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I often freeze my wine and when I thaw it, I sometimes find crystal sediments. How can I get rid of them?
You should be careful about getting your wines that cold if they're bottled. Temperature extremes can compromise the cork as the liquid inside the bottle expands and the wine can leak out. But if you’re simply using the freezer as a way to store leftover wine in containers where there is plenty of headspace, go for it.
By freezing your wine, you’re unintentionally putting it through a process called “cold stabilization.” Sometimes winemakers purposefully get their wines very cold so these harmless tartrate crystals can form and they can be removed by filtering them out before the wine is bottled.
Winemakers “cold stabilize” the wines specifically to avoid the scenario you’re experiencing. Tartrate crystals are harmless, but they tend to concern wine lovers who don’t know what’s going on—either worried their wine is flawed or sometimes suspecting this sediment, which can look like crystals or rock candy, might be a foreign object, like broken glass.
Once the crystals form, they will not dissolve back into the wine. Just pour your wine slowly. The crystals should sink to the bottom of the container, where you can leave them.
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