What do to with wine flotsam and jetsam? [reader mail]

wine floaties Reader Ben writes in:

Floaters in wine.

How do you get them out? A finger? A spoon? Spit out the first sip? You’ve had that experience, haven’t you, of seeing a host of small floating objects on the surface of a glass of wine, usually just bits of cork, but sometimes strange looking pieces of “dust”… Anyway, I thought it could be kind of a funny little thing. And I am frankly curious as to the best approach!

I just swallow them for extra fiber! Okay, not really. I usually either try to drink around any floaties or swirl/tip the glass to get the bit of cork onto the side of the glass and out of play. What do you do?

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21 Responses to “What do to with wine flotsam and jetsam? [reader mail]”


  1. A straw is a great way to pick up small pieces. Put the straw over the piece and then seal it with your finger and the flotsam comes right up. This is particularly good if you are serving an older wine and do not feel comfortable sticking your finger in a guest’s glass.

    As they say, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your wines, but you can’t pick at your friend’s wines.


  2. Drink ‘em up! No harm in a little cork. My wife is a tad more refined than me and sometimes pours the glass through a filter into a new glass.


  3. I carefully engineer a reverse osmosis filtration system. Now, to find a semipermeable membrane suitable to the scale of the task.


  4. I use a strainer/filter when I decant my wine. It fits nicely on the top of the decanter and eliminates the debris floating in my glass!


  5. Id try a little micro ox as long as it isn’t one of the new age “natchrel” wines


  6. It depends on the setting.

    If I am being civilized I will catch them on the side of the glass. If I am at home I will use the tip of my finger.

    No harm done!


  7. Floaters don’t bother me nearly as much as not catching the sediment at the bottom of a glass, whether it’s tannic dredge or precipitated carbonic. Nothing ruins that last splash as much as that!


  8. Fruit flies are the worst!


  9. I usually just use my fingertip to trap it on the side of the glass and then pull it out (kind of like you would do with egg shell in your egg whites). Either that or just ignore it and enjoy the glass anyway. Probably just depends on how much I’ve already consumed…


  10. I agree Joel fruit flies are the worst! I think I almost got rid my mine with windex..we shall see..

    oh I usually use shopsticks they just stick most of the time


  11. In polite company I’ll use the edge of a napkin or a clean fork/spoon to remove the offending particle, but it never really bothers me much. If you’ve spent any extended time backpacking, you’ve had the joy of filtering twigs, algae, and mosquito larvae out of water before purifying it with iodine crystals (which turns it a lovely shade of yellow). You learn to strain out any remaining particulate with your teeth or, if you prefer, placing a clean patch of t-shirt or bandanna over the mouth of the canteen.

    Definitions of “clean”, “clear”, and “drinkable” change quite a bit when you get to the point of catching rainwater, melting snow, or deciding if it’s worth the risk to keep moving until you find a running stream.


  12. If you’re truly concerned, passing the wine through a simple strainer should do the trick.


  13. I actually had to deal with this tonight with an ’07 Seghesio Zin and had some BBQ sauce on my finger. Made for a nice pairing!

    The real question is, what do you do if it is a bug? Do you still catch it on the side of the glass or dive in and get it out?


  14. @erol…depends on the size of the bug. A fruit fly, while irritating (even with the several that seem to happen at once), is quite happily drunken, if not flat out dead drunk. A June bug? Well, there’s a critter reaching for the safety pole…and I definitely *don’t* want it crawling up my helpful finger.

    Stinky bugs; moths with their own form of oily, scaley particulate…blech!! The worst may have been trying to finger out a firefly and squishing the yellow iridescence up the inside of the glass. Count that one on too much wine coupled with grilling in the environs of rural Illinois.


  15. here’s a trick for the fruit flies – sacrifice a glass of wine with a little soap. wine attracts the flies, soap won’t let them fly away. a fruit-bomb of a cheap shiraz seems most appropriate to the task.


  16. And speaking of soap… absolutely NOTHING worse than seeing the floating sheen of soap residue distorting the taste of a nice wine. A good restaurant should never let this happen.


  17. If you toss the wine up in a stiff breeze maybe they will separate like wheat from chaff.


  18. But never do this into a stiff breeze!!


  19. Check out pardonthatvine.com Great new video Blog…..very unique!!


  20. Old server trick: take a paper bev nap (cocktail napkin), fold in half diagonally and gently ‘sweep’ around the top edge of the wine around the glass. the particles should ‘gravitate’ towards the napkin and pick up quite easily.


  21. Check out wineglasscrown.webs.com for the new invention for keeping bugs out of a wine glass!!


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