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,

What does “sleeper of the vintage” mean?

—Nick, San Diego

Dear Nick,

A “sleeper” is an unexpected success. You may have heard of films, songs or even books referred to as “sleeper hits.” When it comes to wine, I’ve heard the term “sleeper” used to refer to either single wines or entire vintages. When it’s a single wine, it means the wine did surprisingly better than its peers. If it’s a “sleeper vintage,” it suggests that the vintage was considered unimpressive at first but has since been recognized as better than expected.

—Dr. Vinny


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