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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Unfortunately I’m not able to store all my wines where they won’t be in the light for a portion of the day. Will placing them inside dark brown paper bags help mitigate the effects of light until better storage options are available to me?

—C.S., New Orleans

Dear C.S.,

I’ll assume you’re not just being paranoid about how much light the wine is being exposed to—a little indirect light wouldn’t be the end of your wines, but leaving them exposed to strong, direct light for long periods of time is not ideal.

I think storing wines in paper bags is fine, with two small caveats. First, can you still fit your wine into the shelving with the bags on them? Sometimes those spaces can be tight. Second, make sure you mark the wines so you know what is where and you don’t disturb the bottles unnecessarily. You can either write on the bags themselves or use those handy neck tags I’m fond of. If any of your friends pick on you for the paper bags, you can point out that some of the highest-end wines pack, ship and store their bottles in tissue paper.

—Dr. Vinny


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