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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I recently purchased a 50-bottle wine fridge, and I am pretty happy with it. Unfortunately, it has a plastic smell in the interior. Will that smell permeate the corks and ruin my wine?

—Jody, Washington, D.C.

Dear Jody,

That plastic, chemical smell common in new appliances bugs me too. I think the risk of it permeating a cork is low, but the risk of it blasting you in the face every time you open the door is much higher. There’s also a chance that the odor will be absorbed by the labels, and I’ve had wine where a smell absorbed by the wine’s packaging was really distracting.

Fresh air is really the best thing to help get rid of the smell. Before you use your wine fridge, prop open the door for a few days. Wash it down with soap and water, or with a dilute vinegar solution (a little bit of lemon juice will help with that vinegar smell, which eventually dissipates). Some might suggest using baking soda, which also has a wonderful neutralizing effect, but be careful that you don’t scratch your wine cooler.

—Dr. Vinny


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