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,

I was looking up wine terms and noticed a product called Mega Purple. I’ve never heard of it and no winemakers talk about it. Could you enlighten us?

—Bill W., Marimar Beach, Fla.

Dear Bill,

Mega Purple is a brand of wine concentrate made from grapes, and it brings a darker color and a touch of sweetness when added to wine.

You don’t hear much about it, because what winemaker wants to admit using it? From what I’ve heard, when it’s added into wine, it’s in very small amounts, like tenths of a percent by volume. We can only speculate which wines have Mega Purple, but most are probably in the under-$10 category.

Mega Purple (and other grape concentrates) can be a controversial topic among wine lovers. Some might look at Mega Purple as just one of the many tools at a winemaker’s disposal to make a better wine for less money. It can be seen as an extension of the practice of blending in some Petite Sirah or Alicante grapes to darken and enhance a wine’s profile. Others feel that grape concentrates are going too far; they are the steroids of wine, a “cheat.”

—Dr. Vinny


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