Using Cold Stabilization to Lower Wine Acidity
Cold Stabilization is one of the main ways winemakers lower the acidity their wines. They accomplish this by adding calcium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, or potassium bitartrate.
After the temperature is lowered, the tartrates begin to crystallize and line the sides and bottom of the container. The wine is further cooled to about 26 degrees Fahrenheit and maintained for one to four weeks. After the tartrate crystals have settled, the wine is racked from the container. After the tartrates are removed, the wine is warmed to 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit before bottling. This is so the label adhesive will properly work.
But the process of cooling and then warming the wine uses a lot of energy. For this reason, some producers are turning to a process called electrodialysis which is much more efficient.
There is no reason to remove tartrate crystals other than for purely aesthetic reasons; they will not harm quality in the least. The process is induced in the winery so it does not occur in the bottle at low temperatures. Many consumers see the haziness that tartrate crystals cause as a flaw.
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