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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 got a 200-bottle wine cabinet. Would it be OK to put a light in it? I'm thinking of adding an under-cabinet light. They are low voltage and do not produce much heat, but I heard people say to keep your wine in a dark, cool space.

—Bob, San Francisco

Dear Bob,

A low-voltage light should be fine. Light brings not only a concern about heat, but also about ultraviolet rays. It appears that the same rays that can turn your skin to leather if you don't wear sunscreen can also penetrate even dark-colored glass bottles and cause problems with your wine. UV rays will damage wine by causing the degradation of otherwise stable organic compounds. Keep in mind that sparkling wines are even more sensitive to light than other wines, so you might want to position those furthest away from the light. Turn the light off when you don't need it—and don't forget to wear sunscreen!

—Dr. Vinny

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