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,

A few years ago on a wine trip in Napa, we were told that you could tell a lot about a wine by the "legs," such as tannins and alcohol content. Recently I've heard that you really can't tell anything from the legs. What you do you think?

—Taylor C., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dear Taylor,

The "legs"—the streaks that trickle down the sides of the glass after you swirl it—are created by alcohol. Basically, the more legs, the higher the alcohol content of the wine. I suppose if you study wine legs for years, you might get to a point where you can make an educated guess about the percentage, but if I want to know the alcohol content, I just read the label.

—Dr. Vinny

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