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,

While visiting a friend's wine cellar, a person attending a tasting commented that the person's racking system was not correct. The system is similar to latticework, which allows the bottle to rest on a rear lattice and the forward part of the bottle to rest on the forward shoulder of a Bordeaux bottle. However, a German Riesling–type bottle sloped at a 15- or 20-degree angle. The person commented that the slope downward would cause the wine to take on cork notes in the nose and taste. Does this sound correct?

—Bill, via e-mail

Dear Bill,

No, it doesn't sound correct to me. First off, no matter how much of a slope there is, only so much wine can be touching the cork, right? Secondly, wine in contact with the cork will not take on "cork notes." You want the wine to be in contact with the cork because it keeps the cork from drying out, which helps prevent premature oxidation. That said, as sediment forms during the course of long-term storage, it will slide down to the lowest part of the bottle—and if that's the neck, it will be more difficult to pour the wine without disturbing the sediment.

—Dr. Vinny


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