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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,

Is storing wine underground a viable option? I don’t mean to just toss the bottles in the dirt, of course, but in an appropriate, sealed container. Temps in Las Vegas get pretty hot. Absent a proper storage facility, is underground storage OK?

—Timothy G., Las Vegas

Dear Timothy,

Sure, there’s a reason why wine cellars and caves are historically built in the ground. It typically stays cool, dark and humid underground, perfect for wine storage. I’m sure you realize it’s not convenient (“Honey, I’m going in the backyard with a shovel to get a wine for dinner!”), but burying your wine could work for long-term storage. My only concern is that the labels might decompose, as would any cardboard or wood container. But if you have the wine stored in a decomposition-proof container, and you draw yourself a decent pirate map to remember where it was buried, I think that’s a fine idea.

—Dr. Vinny

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