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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.




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Dear Dr. Vinny,

My friend who has lived in Europe for many years is convinced the same wine in Europe tastes different than the imported one in the U.S. Is there any truth to his claim? How are wines transported over such long distances?

—Michael, Irvine, Calif.

Dear Michael,

It's hard to say for sure what caused your friend's experience, but very few wineries bottle different wines for different markets under the same label. With rare exceptions, the wine that goes into the bottle is the same no matter where it's sold.

However, wines that travel to reach their destinations face risks absent from those drunk closer to home. Some shipping containers are temperature-controlled, some are not. That decision is up to each importer.

And there are other, less quantifiable variables. For example, a rosé sipped in June at a café overlooking the Mediterranean is likely to show a different character than the same wine drunk in December at your kitchen table.

—Dr. Vinny

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