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,

Although alcoholic beverages have been made from many fruits (most of them bad), what makes grapes uniquely suited to making wine?

—J.J., Winnipeg, Manitoba

Dear J.,

Grapes are pretty unique in that they have the balance of sugar, acidity and tannins to make wine so complex. Other fruits can be too acidic, or too sweet and not acidic enough. When folks make wine from other fruits, they tend to add water or sugar (or both) to get it in balance. Grapes also require less fuss when it comes to the fermentation process—they can naturally convert their sugar into alcohol—while other fruit sources lack the nutrients to make this happen easily.

—Dr. Vinny


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