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,

So, recently—like within the past year—I have found my appreciation for fine wine. Foolishly, I have gone out and spent a ton of money on collectible, rare and future wines. I was foolish in the sense that I never purchased a wine cooler or even a locker. So, my wine has been sitting in a very nice, open-air wine rack for the past six to 12 months. The temperature in my home has never gone above 80 degrees. Do you think I’ve ruined the wine?

—Jonah, Los Angeles

Dear Jonah,

Without opening and drinking them, it’s hard to predict how they’ve held up. There’s no formula to figure out that your wine was fine one moment and suddenly bad the next. All your wines may be fine. Some may have suffered a mild case of heatstroke. From what you describe, you didn’t do your bottles any favors, but at least you kept them lying on their sides, hopefully away from light and direct heat. As you know, there are certainly better wine storage options out there.

How much you invest in wine storage depends on what you can afford, how much you spend on your wines, and whether your wines are meant for aging or for more immediate drinking. If the wine bug has bitten you, chances are you’re going to start buying more and more wine. Now is a good time to think not only about the wines already in your collection, but the ones you’re going to buy in the future.

I recommend you take a look at how much you’ve spent on wine in the last year, and when you start looking at options to rent a storage locker or purchase a wine cooler, take this number into account. If you can get a better storage solution for, say, 10 or 20 percent of the value of your wine purchases, it sounds like a no-brainer to me to protect your investments in your new hobby.

—Dr. Vinny


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