Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Sep 4, 2008 04:09 PM


The other night while dining with my wife at an Italian resturant - we ordered a medium priced bottle of red wine. When my wife finished her first glass, there was a great deal of sediment at the bottom of her glass. I was somewhat taken aback - but the waitress assured my that finding sediment was not uncommon. Is this true? Shoud I have demanded another glass or bottle? Your comments are appreciated.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sediment is quite common. It's also quite UNcommon. It depnds upon the specific wine -- its age, its color, whether the wine was filtered and/or fined prior to bottling, whether it was cold-stabilized, etc., etc., etc.

    1. What Jason said. There are many factors that determine the amount (or lack thereof) sediement in a bottle of wine. Had your wife had a wine "by the glass" and found that much sediment, then I think you'd have a case for getting another glass. But it's not wholly uncommon to experience it at the end of a bottle.

      Next time you go to that restaurant, if you order the same wine, ask them to decant it. They should have a decanting funnel that would filter out the sediment. If they don't, just know that you can expect some sediment in the final pour.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Brad Ballinger

        I would agree if this was the final pour from the bottle but this sediment was in her first glass though. Doesn't that seem a bit more fishy? =D

        1. re: The Chemist

          I don't think I'd call it fishy. It was probably an instance of a wine that was stored, as is proper, on its side, and when pulled out and opened, the sediment was stirred up. I have many wines that throw a lot of sediment, mainly because they are were not filtered when bottled. I just stand them up in my cellar for a couple of days before opening. Restaurants obviously can't do that. I'd be curious to know what the wine was, how old, etc. Older wines tend to have thrown more sediment, and if not decanted, it is very possible that some was in the first glass poured.

          1. re: dinwiddie

            I just think the wine threw tartaric acid crystals and wasn't cold-stablized. No big deal, and sometimes wines that give off these crystals are extremely flavorful because they aren't filtered.

            I would like to also like the know the producer, psychman, if you remember or still have your itemized receipt or can check with the restaurant. Did you enjoy the wine?

          2. re: The Chemist

            There are also times when tartrate crystals form on the bottom of the cork, or in the neck of the bottle if stored on its side. Sometimes these crystals will be "stuck" to the neck of the bottle and will accompany the wine into the first glass. By the way, this isn't a flaw at all; it just happens sometimes.

            1. re: The Chemist

              Not really. Not seeing the sediment, nor the glass, we are left only guessing.

              For example: I've seen unfiltered, "organic" wines through surprising amounts of sediment. Bottles are shipped cork down, and sediment can collect against the cork in the neck of the bottle. I've had "first glasses" with sediment on several occasions.

              1. re: zin1953

                Yep, I generally watch for sediment on the first and last glasses out of a bottle.

                1. re: tmso

                  I tend to think that if there is sediment in the first glass, it will be in each and every subsequent glass.

                  Sediment in suspension in the wine will not settle out to the bottom of the bottle between glasses. If it did so, why would there be reason to stand laid down bottles for more than a few minutes?

                  Floaters are different and would appear only in first glass, hence first glass service to male.

                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    Not true, Frank.

                    As Maria Lorraine said above, if they were tartrates, these will often adhere to the cork in a red wine and can be the source of sediment in the first glass ONLY . . .

                    If the sediment was from, say, an aged red wine, and that bottle had not been standing upright for some time and/or been shaken prior to opening, then you would be correct . . .