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,

Do the tasters for Wine Spectator truly blind-taste ALL wines? Often a tasting note will make a specific reference such as "best yet from this estate." Do they go back later and adjust their notes once they know who, where and what?

—Liesl, Tahoe City, Calif.

Dear Liesl,

Yes, all the wines that appear in the Wine Spectator Buying Guide are always tasted blind, in private and controlled settings. The tasters enter their notes and scores into the database. After the bags come off, a taster can add additional comments—usually about the producer or price—but the scores never change. It's by sticking to this protocol that we're able to sleep at night.

The few wines that we don't taste blind are always clearly identified. Maybe they're part of a tasting at an auction house, a wine festival, or even a private dinner, as you might see in our Editors' Blogs.

—Dr. Vinny


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