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 have a good number of bottles of wine that have been kept in unfavorable conditions and don’t taste at all good. Is there anything I can do to either re-ferment or turn them into Sherry, etc.?

—Derek R., United Kingdom

Dear Derek,

I don’t have good news for you, but perhaps your story will be a good warning lesson to folks who don’t pay much attention to their wine storage. If you’re going to put down bottles for long-term storage, you really should pay attention to how they’re being kept. Ideally, you should keep them at a consistently low temperature, away from light, heat, vibration and temperature fluctuation.

If you have wine that hasn’t been stored well and tastes tired and oxidized, there’s not much you can do to salvage it. You can’t re-ferment it, because the sugar from the grapes has already converted to alcohol. It's not as simple as waving a magic wand and turning it into Sherry, which is a specific type of wine, made from Palomino grapes from the Jerez region of Spain, that often has distilled spirits added to it. Not the same thing as mixing old wine with vodka.

I don’t even recommend trying to cook with wine you wouldn’t drink, or to make vinegar with wine that doesn’t taste good. Nope, I’d just dump it down the sink.

—Dr. Vinny


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