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,
Which is better for a wine to age in, new oak barrels or used oak barrels? And why?
—Andrew W., Queens, N.Y.
There is no "better" when it comes to deciding what vessel a wine will age in, it's simply a matter of style. A new barrel will impart more flavors and tannins than a used or neutral barrel, but that's only desirable if that's the direction the winemaker wants to go in. You might prefer more or less butter and salt on your popcorn than I do, but that doesn't make your popcorn better than mine.
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