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 live in a warm climate without a basement. I am storing some 1999 and 2004 Brunellos in a wine refrigerator. Will the lack of humidity in the refrigerator cause the wines to age more quickly, or harm the aging process?

—John M., Georgia

Dear John,

In the long term, dry conditions in your cellar can result in dry, crumbly corks that might result in prematurely aged wines. But humidity is an easy condition to maintain. Want to add more humidity? Place a pan of water or a moist sponge in the bottom of your wine refrigerator. If your model doesn’t already track humidity, for less than $40 you can get your own hygrometer. Ideal humidity is about 70 percent, but anywhere between 50 and 80 percent should be safe.

—Dr. Vinny


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