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,

What do I do to keep Zinfandel wine cold before opening it?

—Lise P., Riverdale Park, Md.

Dear Lise,

A food refrigerator is perfectly acceptable for chilling down a bottle of wine before serving it, I just don’t suggest you use one for long-term storage. The inside of a standard refrigerator is cooler than recommended wine serving temperatures, so you can take the bottle out, say, 30 to 60 minutes before serving and it should be fine. Alternatively, an ice bucket—or something close to an ice bucket, like a big bowl—filled with a combination of ice and water will get a bottle chilled down in 20 to 30 minutes. Some folks invest in a wine cooler, which looks like a small refrigerator and will keep wines at a perfect serving temperature.

You’ve asked about Zinfandel in particular, which I want to point out is typically a red wine, and red wines are usually served closer to room temperature than whites. Too cold, and their flavors become muted. You might be thinking of “white” or rosé Zinfandels, and in that case, yes, they’re often served chilled like a white wine. It should be pretty easy to figure out by looking at the bottle if you’re dealing with a red version or a pink version!

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories