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'd like to know how much I have to worry about TCA in my cellar. I store wine in the crawlspace of my house (generally pretty good conditions), however, I would occasionally like to kill mold with a bleach solution but I worry about the effect this might have on stored wine. I understand some wineries have had an issue with this. Do I need to worry about this?

—Tad T., Chapel Hill, N.C.

Dear Tad,

This is one situation where the cure is worse than the disease. I advise against the use of any chlorine product in wineries, wine cellars, or anything in the area code of anything wine-related. We haven't seen data about the migration of TCA from a cellar into sealed bottles, but why tempt fate?

Besides, what's so awful about a little mold? Many European wine cellars look like mold farms, yet the wines are great. Unless the bottles are destined for auction (where pristine, mold-free labels fetch higher prices), I'd not bother with the mold.

—Dr. Vinny

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