Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
My friend had a fruit fly go into her glass of wine, so she dumped it out and poured a new glass. I asked her why she didn’t just pluck it out and finish the glass. She said it had changed the flavor of the wine. I gave her a very skeptical look. Tell me, could a single fruit fly actually change the wine’s flavor?
—Tim T., Newberg, Ore.
I’m going to have to pull out my wine-geek membership card. I’m one of those people that can tell if there’s a fruit fly in my wineglass. Even a single fly can dull the flavor of the wine, and then impart a stinky or chemical note.
The reason? A panicked fly will emit a “drosophila stress odorant” to warn other flies by way of a type of tiny, stinky fruit-fly "fart." Once the fly is dead, that gas will dissipate, but by then I’m grossed out by the whole thing so I’m likely to do exactly as your friend did and get a new glass.