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,

About using a coffee filter to get rid of bits of cork—I tried this once. It impaired the wine. It was an automatic coffee machine filter. I tried wine that was through the filter and wine that was not, from the same bottle. The difference was pronounced. Could it vary with wine type (filtered/unfiltered)? Could it have a similar impact on quality that filtering may have on an unfiltered wine?

—David V., Mississauga, Ontario

Dear David,

I asked around, and all the winemakers I spoke with were certain that coffee filters are not fine enough to filter out anything that could create a noticeable change in your wine. I have two other theories. Pouring all that wine around, exposing it to air? Sometimes flaws that we miss the first time around become more pronounced when this happens. In particular, TCA—and its nasty odors of musty, damp cellars and wet cardboard—might not make itself apparent at first. My second theory is that you might be getting some flavor from the coffee filter itself. I've never suggested someone taste a coffee filter before, but you might want to give it a chew to see if that could be the case.

—Dr. Vinny


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