Your Wine Questions Answered: Part 6
Cold, northerly vineyards such as ones found in Germany, and even in the cooler microclimates of California and Oregon, tend to produce wines high in acidity. Most wine producers throughout the world chill their wines for a few weeks near freezing before bottling. This process, called cold stabilization, turns excess tartaric acid into crystals that can be left out of the bottled wine. Some wines are not cold stabilized, as there are some winemakers who feel this somehow reduces the quality of a great wine. These wines will, upon refrigeration, show more crystals in the bottle, either stuck to the cork or in the bottom of the glass. The crystals are harmless, tasteless, odorless and if you can collect enough of them, you could sell them to your grocer as cream of tartar, a common thickening agent in cooking!