Check out the new, mobile-friendly!

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 am arranging a vertical tasting and would like your input. Is it always done by earliest year forward, or do the factors surrounding the specific year’s characteristics come into play?

—David S., Los Angeles

Dear David,

I’ve had vertical tastings (of different vintages of the same wine) that go in either direction. When they go from oldest to youngest, the older wines are often less tannic and lighter-bodied than younger wines, so there’s a natural progression of body and tannins. Sometimes that’s really helpful, because tannins can cling to your mouth and make it tough to appreciate more elegant, lighter wines.

But most of the time I see verticals go from younger to older, with the thinking that the older wines will be more complex and nuanced than their younger counterparts. It also follows the progression of a wine’s evolution. Either way, a vertical is a great chance to look for a common thread in a wine.

—Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories