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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,

How much wine and Champagne should you buy for your holiday parties? Is there a specific amount you should consider each person will drink?

—Darlene, Gilbert, Ariz.

Dear Darlene,

You're going to have to ask yourself some questions that I can't answer. How long is the event? Will food be served? (The more food there is, the more people will drink.) Will there be beer or other alcohol served, too? Are your guests a wine crowd, a beer crowd or a cocktail crowd? Are they typically light drinkers, moderate drinkers or heavy drinkers?

That said, I always start with a formula for both dinners and cocktail parties of about two to three drinks per person—which, if you're serving only wine, is about half a bottle per person. Fine-tune it from there, and get some extra bottles so you don't run out. Red and white wine are nearly equally popular these days, but people drink more white wine in warm weather and more red in the cold. Sparkling wine tends to be a little less popular than either red or white, but I think it depends on the setting and what else you're serving. Again, you'll know your crowd better than anyone. And make sure there are non-alcoholic options too!

—Dr. Vinny

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