Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny



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

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I read more and more about fermenting wines in concrete tanks. Concrete does not sound to me like a very human-friendly compound to immerse wine in. Would you please explain this process?

—Alois S., Idyllwild, Calif.

Dear Alois,

Concrete has been a part of winemaking for a long time, and it’s true that concrete fermentors have recently become fashionable again. There are some great features to concrete: They are neutral containers, with thick, temperature-stabilizing walls that are believed to soften a wine’s texture; concrete tanks are customizable in design and shape; and they're much more affordable than barrels. Most winemakers use them for fermentation, but others use concrete vats for aging wine as well.

I’ve been up close with these tanks and they are beautiful—don’t think of them like a concrete sidewalk—think of them like a sleek countertop or stylish sink. These are smooth to the touch, and it’s easy to see their appeal, not just functionally, but aesthetically.

—Dr. Vinny

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


WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.