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,

If you remove the foil on a bottle of red, does it spoil the wine after a week?

—Stephanie, Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Stephanie,

Heavens no! The foil cover (also known as a wine bottle’s “capsule”) around the neck and over the cork is mostly decorative these days. Historically, capsules were used to protect the cork from rodents or bugs (cork weevils!) that might find a cork appetizing to nibble on. But removing a capsule isn’t like breaking a seal. In fact, some producers don’t use foil at all, leaving the cork exposed, doing away with the extra cost and landfill.

So, unless you have a rodent problem in your cellar, the foil is just part of the wine’s packaging—and I do appreciate how it makes it easy to spot certain bottles of wine in my cellar because of their distinctive capsules. Remember, if you have a bottle with a capsule, it’s considered proper etiquette to simply cut the top of the foil off to extract the cork.

—Dr. Vinny


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