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Ask Dr. Vinny

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.

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why are Moscato and Riesling so cheap in price compared to other wines?

—Lori B., Morristown, N.J.

Dear Lori,

Wine pricing can seem arbitrary, especially when you can find bottles anywhere from $2 to $200 in most wine shops. But wine prices are a reflection of production costs, supply, demand and perceived value. Sometimes perceived value can play into consumer’s favor, sometimes not.

I’m sure that part of Moscato’s crazy popularity these days has to do with its affordable price tag as much as it is about the spicy, slightly sweet style. Muscat vines are relatively easy to grow in a variety of places, and can have high yields. Moscato winemaking is also a relatively affordable process—it doesn’t typically require a fancy zip code, expensive barrels, marquee winemakers, or aging and storage costs.

Riesling is a bit more complicated—while I know there are some affordable, quaffable versions out there, I can think of plenty of rare, expensive late-harvest versions, too. In the case of the cheaper versions, it’s similarly grown in a way where there is plenty of crop and affordable winemaking practices.

—Dr. Vinny

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