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,

Regarding your suggestion of adding a small humidifier to a wine cellar, what about the problems of capacity of the humidifier? The ones I’ve seen only run for a few hours, and then they need more water. Corks like consistency, and I don’t want to have to replenish water every day or so.

—Chuck G., Raleigh, N.C.

Dear Chuck,

I see that most of the humidifiers out there marketed towards consumers start off at 1-gallon capacity, but larger ones are certainly out there. A quick look at some search-engine results shows me an 8-gallon one for less than $100.

There are other ways to get (and keep) the humidity of a cellar to its optimal 50 to 70 percent relative humidity target. Start by making sure the space is insulated, so the humidity is staying where you want it. The cheapest way to add humidity is to simply place a pan of water on the floor. If the racking or walls are made of wood, you can mist with a water bottle now and again. There area also some really nice decorative humidifiers—a fancy way of saying “indoor fountain.” You can hang them on the wall or put them on the floor, and they have the dual purpose of being decorative and exposing a lot of surface area so the water can evaporate.

I imagine that for most people, humidity isn’t much of a concern. If you’re worried that your wine storage is too dry, you can always get a hygrometer to measure it, and they start at around $15 or so.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories