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 am a director for the National Capital Sommelier Guild, a very active wine tasting club with 135 members. Another director has been using the term “sticky” to apply to all sweet wines, such as Tokaji and a Torres Muscat. Is it correct to use “sticky” this way, or should it only be applied for Australian dessert wines?

—Larry W., Ottawa

Dear Larry,

You didn’t mention whether or not your fellow director is Australian, which might explain his use of the term “stickies,” a nickname Aussies give to sweet wines. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying a late-harvest wine, or a wine influenced by botrytis, it’s easy to see how the honeyed texture and rich viscosity is the inspiration for the nickname.

I believe this Australian slang describes a particular style of wine not specific to their country, which means I wouldn’t be surprised at all if an Australian wine lover referred to a Tokaji as a “sticky.” I think among wine lovers the term is somewhat known outside of Australia, but I don’t see it widely used. The Australians also call a chicken a “chook” and a mosquito a “mozzie,” but like most slang terms, they usually have the most impact when they’re used in the area they originated.

—Dr. Vinny


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