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,

After storing wine on its side in a cellar for five or so years, should you set it upright one day before drinking to allow the sediment to flow to the bottom of the bottle?

—Bernie H., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Dear Bernie,

I got some hate mail when I gave decanting advice and didn't mention the part about sitting a bottle upright beforehand. Truth is, this is one of those things that divides the wine community. Some say that if you sit a bottle upright, the sediment will easily slide to the bottom of the bottle overnight. Others say that this disturbs the wine too much, releasing sediment into suspension, taking months to clear up. This second group advocates using a wine basket or decanting machine, which will keep a bottle at an angle and not disturb the sediment. My advice? If you don't have a wine basket or decanting machine, sit the bottle upright for at least a couple of days—three or four would be better.

—Dr. Vinny


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