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 recently had friends over for spinach pasta torte and poured a bottle of 1997 Chapoutier Châteauneuf-du-Pape. My wife pointed out bumps on the label and wondered if these were Braille. Is this Braille? Why does this wine have Braille on the label? Are there any other wines that regularly put Braille on their label?

—H.T., Hinsdale, Ill.

Dear H.T.,

It is indeed Braille. The story goes that in 1993, a blind French singer named Gilbert Montagné told his friend Michel Chapoutier about his difficulties in picking out wine in wine shops. Chapoutier was the first winery in the world to figure out how to put all those bumps on their labels, and now all of the Chapoutier bottles provide the appellation, name of the wine, vintage and whether it's red or white in Braille. A smattering of other producers around the world have jumped on the Braille bandwagon, but Chapoutier is the most widely distributed.

—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