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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is there a difference between the taste of grapes used to make wine and "food" grapes?

—Michael, Irvine, Calif.

Dear Michael,

There are many kinds of grapes out there, and they are chosen (and bred) for specific uses based on the desired flavor, size and texture. Wine grapes definitely taste different than table, juice, or raisin grapes—they tend to be sweeter and have lower acidity. You'll also notice a difference in the size of the grapes—wine grapes are smaller (a higher ratio of skin to pulp makes them more tannic), they have seeds, their pulp is softer and their skins are chewier. I find wine grapes more fragrant, sweeter and spicier, while table grapes are crunchier and refreshingly tart in comparison. Some grapes are popular both for eating and for making wine, such as the Muscat grape.

—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 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

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

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

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

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