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,

When removing the foil from a bottle of wine, I’ve gotten into the habit of just peeling the whole foil capsule off the bottle, instead of cutting the foil and removing the top. I find this to be faster and I don’t get any rough edges of foil. Is this acceptable, or is it considered a crude or barbaric way of dealing with the capsule?

—Malcolm K., Mission Viejo, Calif.

Dear Malcolm,

I do the same in the privacy of my own home, and no one has ever called me crude or barbaric, at least not to my face. When decanting an older bottle of wine, it’s really helpful to take off the entire capsule, so it’s easier to see when the sediment hits and it’s time to stop pouring.

However, in formal service, the capsule is considered part of the entire package of the bottle, and that’s why only the top part of the capsule is removed in restaurants.

—Dr. Vinny


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