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,

Can the wine bottle foil affect the taste of the wine?

—Cab Burnay, Richmond, Va.

Dear Cab,

Cool name, Cab. I can’t think of any circumstance where a foil (also known as a wine bottle’s “capsule”) would or could interfere with the way the wine tastes. Historically, the foil helped protect bottles from insects and vermin that would nibble at corks. These days, it’s seen more as a part of the wine’s packaging than as serving any functional purpose.

When serving wine, you just need to cut the top part of the capsule, just below the lip of the bottle, to expose the cork before you remove it. More and more wineries are packaging wine without the capsule, avoiding unnecessary materials (and costs). Although it used to make a bottle look naked to me, I’ve grown accustomed to foil-less bottles.

—Dr. Vinny


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