What does the word "chai" have to do with wine? Isn't it a kind of tea?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I was working a crossword puzzle, and the question was, "What do you call a winemaker's outside storage?" The word "chai" fits in the spaces and makes the other words I need. Is "chai" the correct word for a winemaker's outside storage? I'm stumped ... I thought "chai" meant "tea."

—Holly

Dear Holly,

Chai (pronounced "shay") is a French word for a wine storeroom; usually it refers to an aboveground room rather than an underground cellar (although I've also seen the term "underground chai"). Chai also has the connotation of a barrel storage room vs. bottle storage. You're right that the other meaning of "chai" (rhymes with "sky") is a spicy black tea with honey and milk.

—Dr. Vinny

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