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,

You recently answered a question that sounds an awful lot like the one I posed a week or so earlier. Do you "blend" similar questions together to provide a single, unified answer? You really evade the question of why someone would pay hundreds of dollars for a bottle of wine versus $35 for the other when they are rated the same.

—Doug J., Appleton, Wisc.

Dear Doug,

I don't blend questions, but I do get a lot of similar questions along certain lines. And I promise to correct spelling errors before posting them.

One of the most amazing things about tasting wines blind—when you don't take producer or price into account—is that you might find out you like a wine just as much as its counterpart which might cost several times more. I think this blind-tasting advice is very useful, but it's by no means the only thing to consider when buying wine. Some people might prefer one style over another. They might have brand loyalty, or even a personal connection with the producer. They might prefer the vintage, or the appellation, or even just the way the label looks. They might just want to spend more money just because it's burning a hole in their pocket and they can afford it. And if someone is unfamiliar with wine, they may assume the more expensive one is more expensive for a reason.

Why would people pay more money for a bottle when another wine that costs a fraction is just as good in one reviewer's opinion? Because they want to, and that's OK with Dr. Vinny.

—Dr. Vinny


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