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,
We made dandelion wine 30 years ago and just found an unopened bottle. Is it still good?
—Deneen, Newfield, N.Y.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had dandelion wine. I remember it being lush and very sweet, like modest Sauternes, but the one I had wasn’t aged. Your question baffled me, so I went looking for a commercial dandelion wine expert.
I found Ken Schultz, winemaker at Hidden Legend in Victor, Mont. Ken makes a dry version of dandelion wine, which he describes as delicately flavored, grassy, and reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc, which makes sense to me. “It does improve with bottle time,” says Ken. “Ours are generally two to three years old, and I find the smell of a meadow of dandelions intensifies, and in that time any green notes go away.”
But 30 years is a long time to age any sort of wine, and both Ken and I wondered out loud about how the cork is holding up, and if the seal remained intact so the wine didn’t become oxidized. I’d imagine the fruit flavors have faded by now, and there’s a nutty overtone to whatever is left inside. Please find a reason to open it up and report back! We’d love to hear how it held up.