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,

If I take a Cabernet from the 55-degree wine cellar, then don't drink it, can I replace it in the cellar without harming the wine? I recall that temperature variations are not good for wine.

—Donna, Dallas

Dear Donna,

Sister, you sound like you could use a drink. I don't think there's anything to worry about. It's true that temperature variations aren't good for wine—extreme and frequent temperature variations, when the seal of the cork can be compromised as it expands and contracts with the variation. Your wine should be perfectly fine. Gradual temperature changes (cellar to room temperature and back) are better than extreme changes (hot car to your kitchen freezer and back). When does temperature variation start to affect a wine? There are no simple answers. It depends on a variety of factors, including how good of a seal you have on your wine to begin with, which is impossible to know.

—Dr. Vinny


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