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,

New World vintners account for their production in terms of "tons per acre," while Europeans use a different scale, namely "hectoliters per hectare." How can you make up the difference?

—Paul P., Montreal

Dear Paul,

Ah, math. And ah, the metric system.

In Europe and South America, the metric system is standard—wine production is expressed in hectoliters, and yields are expressed in hectoliters per hectare. Here in the United States, we continue to use tons and acres.

To break it down, a hectoliter is equal to 100 liters, or 26.4 gallons, and is approximately equal to 0.183 tons. An acre (43,560 square feet) is equivalent to 0.405 hectares. Looking at it from the other side, a hectare is equivalent to 2.471 acres.

If you do the math (and trust me on this), 2 tons per acre is equivalent to 27 hectoliters per hectare.

—Dr. Vinny


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