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,

I know that when decanting a bottle of wine I should use a source of light to see when the sediment starts to approach the neck of bottle, thus knowing when to stop pouring the wine into the decanter. My problem is that I never see the sediment when pouring, yet there is sediment in the bottom of the decanter. I've tried to use a candle (no good), then a flashlight (even worse). What's the correct way to do this? It's driving me crazy!

—George, Mastic Beach, N.Y.

Dear George,

My guess is that you're pouring too quickly. Experiment with decanting either directly over a light source or in front of one. Pour slowly and steadily. Don't stop midway through. When you're getting to the bottom half of the bottle, pour even more slowly. Sediment isn't always chunky, obvious stuff. As soon as you notice the wine's color become cloudy or see what looks like specks of dust in the neck of the bottle, you've hit sediment, so stop pouring then.

—Dr. Vinny


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