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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

Why do the makers of Pinot Noir use a cork that is about 1/8 inch shorter than those who make Cabernet Sauvignon?

—H.S., Florida

Dear H.S.,

I checked in with Vance Rose of Amorim Cork America, a maker of corks. “There are no absolute rules,” he explained, but said that most Burgundy-shaped bottles (with sloping shoulders) flare out from the neck relatively quickly, while Bordeaux-shaped bottles (with rounded shoulders) typically have a longer neck. If a cork is longer than the neck of the bottle, it won’t be a snug fit.

Of course, it varies from bottle to bottle, and vintners’ individual preferences will also come into play—longer corks cost more, and some believe they’re more appropriate for wines meant to be aged. Rose said that the standard-size cork is 45mm long (about an inch and three-quarters), but they can get as long as 54mm (two and one-eighth inches).

—Dr. Vinny

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