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,

I want to remove and save wine labels. I've tried soaking in hot water and cold to no avail. Is there a special product or trick to do this?

—Joanne Linihan, Alliance, Ohio

Dear Joanne,

First, know your enemy: Some labels are glued on, others are like stickers. If you're not sure what you're dealing with, try to attack the back label first for clues.

For labels that are glued on, soaking the bottle in warm water for at least 20 to 30 minutes should do the trick. If the label is like a sticker, you're going to have to think differently. You need to do something to melt the adhesive. Try a hair dryer, or stick the bottle in a very low oven for about 10 minutes, then attempt patient surgery with a razor blade to scrape it off.

There are also some products on the market that work like clear packing tape to peel off the top layer of the label (or you can try using regular packing tape itself). Problem is, the labels tend to tear because the tape only grabs the top layer.

—Dr. Vinny

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