Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

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

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the meaning of a “wine snob”? How can people profess to be one when none of us have the same tastes or smells? I understand the greater knowledge aspect of snobbery, but not taste or smell.

—Margaret M., Mt. Airy, Md.

Dear Margaret,

I’ve met all kinds of cultural snobs, including food, literature, film and music ones. And yes, I’ve rubbed elbows with some of the worst wine snobs. I think you’re right that their belief that other people are inferior to them starts with a knowledge base—they know more about a subject (or think they know more about a subject) than you.

I don’t think snobbery is about taste, but about how one discusses taste. Some people want to dictate style or show off their knowledge for their own gratification. Sometimes they like to be engaged in battle so they can really try to push their agenda. If the snob happens to be someone you care about, the best you can do is just smile and nod. If the snob is someone you don’t care for, the best you can do is also just smile and nod.

—Dr. Vinny

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 WineSpectator.com 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

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.