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,

I frequently receive promotions with a rumor surrounding a wine that is made from declassified lots of some cult Cabernet producer. It seems to me that if such rumors were true, they would disclose the producer and up the price? Are such wine rumors usually true?

—John H., Hattiesburg, Miss.

Dear John,

You and I must get the same newsletters. I’m pretty skeptical when I see these claims. Sure, there are plenty of scenarios where winemakers are unhappy with their grapes (or wine) and “declassify” the lot. Declassified grapes or wine will either go into a lesser bottling or get sold to someone else. It’s not hard to imagine that if this happened with a prominent producer, discretion about the source of the grapes would be necessary.

Keep in mind, though, that if the grapes actually were declassified, they probably were declassified for a good reason. And the thing about these rumors is that they never seem to be confirmed. I doubt most of the rumors are true, but certainly some brands enjoy the success of having that mystery about their wines.

—Dr. Vinny


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