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DIY Guide: How to Get Rid of Wine Sediment (3 Simple Hacks)

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People emptied entire bottles of wine down the sink because they assumed the wine had gone bad. You need to know some DIY hacks on how to get rid of wine sediment before discarding the wine.

The three best DIY hacks to get rid of wine sediment are – using a small kitchen leaf tea sieve to decant the wine through by using an unbleached coffee filter to decant the wine through and using a phone light, candle, or torchlight from underneath the bottle while decanting to see the sediment.

Sediment or crystals in wine is not a rare occurrence; however, it is common in wines of very high quality or wines aged for over ten years. It’s not harmful but can be unpleasant so let’s look at why your wine has sediment and the DIY methods that work.

How to Get Rid of Wine Sediment
How to Get Rid of Wine Sediment

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Is Sediment in Wine a Good Thing?

Contrary to what your eyes and brain may tell you about sediment in your wine bottle or unidentified crystals in your wine glass, they are usually a good sign. Wine sediment has many names and can appear differently in white and red wines. 

The sediment is referred to as dregs, wine diamonds, crystals, dead lees, or floaters. The sediment is harmless to the wine and you. Most of the sediment created in the winemaking process is typically filtered out when bottling the wine. 

You will find less sediment in red wines that are over ten years old. The sediment results from the wine fermenting and typically settles at the bottom of the wine. If the red wine bottle is stored on its side, you’ll find the sediment along the length of the neck. 

Many wine drinkers who know about the sediment will leave a small amount of wine in the bottom of the bottle that is not consumed so that the majority of the sediment stays behind. Even if the wine does not look “clean” or appetizing, it reveals a secret about how it was made, which is a good thing.

TIP: I wrote this great article on how to store wine with a cork that you will certainly learn from. To learn how to store wine without a cork, then this article will be your resource.

Why Does My Wine Have So Much Sediment?

You may encounter different types and sediment levels depending on the type of wine you are consuming. Usually, wines that have been standing in bottles for several years may have more sediment. It is also more prolific in red wines than rosé and white wines. 

After the fermentation process of new wine, the excess particles and lees will have fallen away, and once the winemaker racks the new wine, there might be small particles remaining. Some winemakers prefer to have as little as possible interference with the fermenting and when the wine is racked. 

Only microscopic biological solids remain and become larger as the wine ages. 

Reasons Why Red Wine Contains Sediment:

  • The red wine is of very high quality and has stood for more than ten years. Wines that are produced to age for long will almost certainly have sediment.
  • The winemaking process had very little human interference
  • The winemaker did not over filter the wine before bottling
  • The lees in the wine indicate a high-quality grape used in the process
  • The wineries do not typically stabilize red wines

Reasons Why White Wine Contains Wine Crystals:

  • Winemakers only use the juice and pulp, not the grape skins, to make white wine.
  • Like the rosé, white wines are stabilized and create less sediment but form crystals due to the tartaric acid. 
  • White and rosé wines are stored at room temperature but are typically chilled before serving. When cooled for prolonged periods, the sediment forms crystals because tartaric acid becomes crystals. 
  • Tartrate crystals in white or rosé wines typically indicate a very high-quality product. 
Why Does White Wine Contains Wine Crystals
Why Does White Wine Contains Wine Crystals

Having a little sediment in the last sip of wine is not too different from the coffee grinds that often accompany a cappuccino or espresso. If you know what to expect, it’s not a surprise, but if you aren’t used to drinking a non-stabilized wine, it takes a bit to get used to. 

The sediment will not change the taste or aroma of the wine.

TIP: To learn how to store white wine after opening, check out this article I wrote. To discover if wine fridges are only for storing white wine, check out this complete guide I wrote. And for a complete breakdown of how to store wine long-term in 8 simple steps, you need to read this guide I wrote.

How to Get Rid of Wine Sediment

Hack #1

You can try this DIY hack in most kitchens and with any red or white wine. If there is excessive sludge or buildup of sediment and you don’t want to waste a drop of the expensive wine, here’s what to do:

  • Take an unbleached coffee filter – the better quality type will be a thick paper and off-white color. Its crucial not to use the white, bleached filters as the compounds will interact with the wine as it runs through into the carafe. 
  • Open the coffee filter and place it firmly into the neck of the carafe.
  • Stabilize the carafe and filter by placing your free hand around the neck and filter simultaneously. 
  • Pour the white or red wine through the filter into the carafe, often pausing so that the filter doesn’t tear. 
  • Take care to pour the last bit of wine slowly so that the sediment, sludge, or wine crystals do not get forced through the filter. 
  • Let it drip through for a few seconds and gently remove the filter and discard.
  • Enjoy the sediment-free wine immediately.  

Hack #2 

This next DIY method is a kitchen-friendly use-anywhere style hack. If you buy a wine that has signs of floating sediment, white wine crystals, or sediment, you can use the following kitchen tool to decant through. 

  • Take a plastic tea sieve – the type used to pour leaf tea through – and disinfect it in a container with boiling water for 5 minutes.
  • Take it out and let it cool down.
  • Open or de-cork the bottle of wine.
  • Position the sieve over the carafe or a wine glass.
  • Pour the wine and if you capture sediment or crystals, discard it—clean and dry the sieve before pouring the next glass. 

Hack #3

This DIY hack will require a little more finesse and practice. Start by gently removing a bottle of red wine from the cellar or storage shelf. Do not shake the bottle. Keep the bottle at 45 degrees and uncork it while resting it on a table or other surface. 

  • Using a phone flashlight or candlelight, shine the light from underneath the neck of the bottle and locate the sediment pocket.
  • Position the carafe at an opposite 45-degree angle and slowly pour the wine from the bottle.
  • Avoid pouring the wine too fast, or it will froth and foam.
  • As soon as the majority of sediment reaches the neck of the bottle, that indicates you have decanted the clean wine. 
  • Leave the little bit of wine in the bottle. 
  • Take care not to bring the bottle too close to the candlelight as it can heat the wine.

TIP: Once you pop the cork, most wines go bad within a day or so. But a Coravin Wine Preservation system (available for a great price on Amazon) can extend the life of your opened wine for weeks or even months. It is awesome. You should check it out and see if it will fit into your lifestyle.

Conclusion

It is simple to get rid of sediment, sludge, or wine crystals; by applying any of these DIY hacks, you can save as much wine as possible. 

Typically, it will be the more expensive, long-aging wines present with sediment, so you can rest assured that the sediment indicates top-quality wines. There is no need to lose even half a glass when you can remedy the situation. 

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