On most nights Diane and I retreat to the tv room, plop on the couch, and veg out watching a few hours of junk programming. There are nights of little interest, but we force ourselves through Wheel of Fortune (why don't they allow the viewer to see the puzzle board all the time instead of sending the camera off to the contestant?; seems unfair to me), or Jeopardy, a show designed to show you how stupid you are compared to everyone but the High School kids they occasionally have on. And when you work on a farm/winery with a schedule that goes 7 days a week, sometimes knowing that Castle was on Monday nights helped put you in a new week. Of course with Castle now gone I am having trouble on knowing exactly where I am in the week.
So here I am, at around 8 o'clock in the evening getting an email message originating from our website. Normally they are pretty good but I cringe never the less on what could be pressing at that moment to ask a question or make a statement. The last one came from Joel and he said he had some solids in the bottle he just drank from. He said they were like grains or clumps of sand. He went so far as to define them as solid and crunchy. He asked: "What could it be?"
We try to get back to these customers as soon as we can. Everyone has a to do list, and quick responses resolve most issues. This was handled promptly by my grabbing my Samsung and finger spelling a precise but, in my case, always a long winded answer. "It occurs primarily on the reds where we don't ultra-filter the wine like the big box wineries." I said.
I can never just say a few words, so I went on to say it occurs in processing where the juices sit on the skins a few days prior to pressing, and ultimately the solids make it past the filtering system and into the bottle. With settling and temperature changes, clumping takes some of these minute particles and makes the larger clumps. "No concerns here", I continued. "Solids can actually contribute to the flavor profile."
Normally I don't hear the customer's comments afterwards. I don't know if they think I'm a know-it-all or a jerk. But Joel was nice enough to get back to me the next day, quoting Google. "Normal, not a problem at all. Second, it will not harm you." Whew, I felt relief that Joel didn't think he was poisoned. "Third, it does not indicate bad wine and often signals good wine". Another sign of acceptance.
Google did say that chewing the crystals might impart a bitter flavor. This is something Joel and Google have apparently done......I have never felt the need to chew the solids at the bottom of the glass or pour the last little bit out of a bottle that is more sediment than wine.
I'll have to trust them on this.