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,

What can you tell me about wine preservation systems? I recently saw an individual nitrogen system (small cylinder and a tap) that looks very interesting. Do these systems really work? Does the nitrogen have any harmful effect on the wine?

—Mike Mahoney, San Francisco

Dear Mike,

The nitrogen systems work OK, but it sometimes feels funny using something that reminds me of a fire extinguisher on my wine. I've also tried those vacuum seal cork things, with mixed results.

After many years of experimenting, I've decided to put my "leftover" wine in one of two places: sangria or smaller bottles. The sangria recipe is available upon request, and transferring extra wine to a smaller bottle works beautifully. After all, exposure to air is what you're trying to avoid, right? Keep some clean half-bottles on hand (water bottles with twist-off caps also work fine) and pour your extra wine in there; it will stay fresh for a couple of days.

—Dr. Vinny

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