Check out the new, mobile-friendly!

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,

What is the alcohol content in Barchester Cream? I don’t think you can get it now, but my mother liked it, and I’m interested to find out how strong it was.

—June S., United Kingdom

Dear June,

I wasn’t able to track down a cream Sherry called Barchester, but I just know that someone out there has a forgotten bottle of Barchester Cream in a cupboard. Can that person please look it up and shoot me a note? In the meantime, I can talk about Sherry in general.

First off, have you noticed how Sherry is all the rage these days? members can read my colleague James Molesworth’s recent Sherry tasting report and my other colleague Ben O’Donnell’s ABCs of Sherry. I’ve also covered the points that “dry” Sherry isn’t in powdered form and cream Sherry doesn’t have any dairy in it.

Sherry is a fortified wine, which means that, like Port, it has a small amount of distilled spirits added to it. That makes the alcohol content higher than most table wines, but not drastically so. Most Sherries clock in from about 15 to 22 percent alcohol by volume, while most table wine is in the 12 to 15 percent range.

—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 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


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

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


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

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