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,

I had a sommelier at a local prime steakhouse tell me that makers of higher-end wines (California Cab, for example) put their "best" wine of a particular cuvee in large-format bottles before the regular 750ml bottles are filled. Is this true?

—Tom C., Birmingham, Ala.

Dear Tom,

It's not true. But I get so many questions along these lines, I checked with Craig Williams, the winemaker at Joseph Phelps, just to be sure, and this is his response:

"While we normally bottle the large-formats first, followed by the 750ml bottles, all bottles obtain their wine from the same tank[s]. To do otherwise would be a commercial disaster. Aging differences are another matter, though."

Craig's right: the larger-format bottles tend to age more slowly, and they make for good trophies. I'm guessing the myth that there is better wine in the bottles in the first place was created as a marketing ploy.

—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