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,
With all sorts of ways to preserve opened bottles of wine, why do most restaurants serve mediocre wine by the glass when they have good stuff by the bottle?
Good question, though I believe that wine-by-the-glass programs in general have really improved over the last few years. It still varies, of course—a restaurant’s wine-by-the-glass choices are typically reflective of its wine program as a whole.
Even though today there are better methods to preserve an open bottle of wine, it’s still true that an open bottle runs the risk of deteriorating—and rather quickly. Serious wine programs will invest in systems to keep open bottles in good shape overnight or longer, but there’s always a chance an open bottle will oxidize, which means a restaurant can’t guarantee the quality of that wine. One strategy restaurateurs may take is to avoid delicate, aromatic wines for their by-the-glass program, and instead pick sturdier, simpler wines, hoping they won’t show as many flaws.
If I’m ordering wine by the glass, I look for a couple of things. First off, I’m becoming a big fan of the emerging wine-on-tap programs, which provide consistently fresh glasses of wine. Secondly, if I’m a little nervous about the choices or the restaurant’s wine service, I might ask for a small taste of the wine to sample and see if it’s to my liking and not oxidized. Some restaurants automatically let you taste your by-the-glass choice, a very classy move.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
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.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash