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 noticed that on the cover of the Nov. 30 issue you had a picture of a wine cellar. The question I had was, what was up with the bottle of wine in the center of the cellar? Charles Shaw? Now, I know that they make some great wines, if you can only afford a Two-Buck Chuck. I thought that was quite humorous. However, what was the true reason for putting it there?

—Phil B., Portland, Ore.

Dear Phil,

I checked with executive editor Thomas Matthews to get the skinny on that bottle of Charles Shaw. He says, "The wine cellar featured on the cover of the Nov. 30 issue belongs to Julien LeCraw of Atlanta, Ga. Mr. LeCraw and his 25,000-bottle collection were featured in a profile in the Dec. 31, 2005, issue of Wine Spectator. Mr. LeCraw has all the trophy wines you might imagine; he also has a sense of humor, which leads him to spotlight not only Cristal and Yquem, but also "Two-Buck Chuck" and Marilyn Merlot in his "wall of fame." We applaud wine lovers who combine passion for great wine with the understanding that wine collecting doesn't have to be too serious or solemn."

Tom's right. I know many serious collectors who like to point out the "gems" in their cellar that might include wine in a box or homemade bottles of something that no one should ever drink. One of my favorites in my personal cellar is a bottle from "Stu Pedasso" cellars. Say that quickly a few times to see what makes me smile.

—Dr. Vinny


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