Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
After drinking red wine from a Solo cup, I left the mostly empty cup sitting out for a week (please don’t judge). However, after that week I noticed thousands of uniformly distributed wine-colored speckles inside my cup. What is that?
—Jenna B., Gainesville, Ga.
Judge? What is there to judge about drinking wine from plastic cups that you don’t clean up for a week?
My guess is that you have started making vinegar without trying. Mycoderma is a type of bacteria that can grow on the surface of a wine exposed to air. If you leave that cup out for another couple weeks (not judging!), after a while these specks will become more gelatinous and mucousy and sink to the bottom, and then you’ll have a vinegar mother.
Of course, if you’d like to make vinegar from leftover wine by actually trying to, you can check out my tips.
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