Dr. Vinny's 25 Top Answers to 'What's the Difference Between …?'

Ask Dr Vinny

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.

What’s the difference between a Dr. Vinny question and a popular Dr. Vinny question? Turns out “What’s the difference …?” explanations are among the most read (and re-read) of my columns year-in and year-out. Here I’ve compiled more than 25 of these disambiguations for anyone looking to freshen up their wine knowledge for 2021.

What’s the difference between …

Claret, Meritage and Bordeaux?

Pinot Noir and Burgundy?

Syrah and Shiraz?

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris?

Merlot and Cabernet?

Bordeaux and Burgundy?

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc?

Bordeaux's Left Bank and Right Bank?

New World and Old World?

French and American oak?

Châteaus Mouton-Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild?

Tawny Port and Vintage Port?

A wine cellar and a wine cooler?

Organic and biodynamic?

Terroir, appellations and AVAs?

Pét-nat and col fondo sparkling wines?

Premier and grand cru Burgundy?

Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Brunello?

Petite Sirah and Syrah?

Oaked and unoaked wine?

Refractometers and saccharometers?

Ice wine and botrytized wine?

Estate wine and single-vineyard wine?

Vermouth and Sherry?

A grape variety and a grape clone?

More Best of 2020

See More

Unfiltered Predictions for 2021

Jan 7, 2021

2020: In Memoriam

Dec 31, 2020

The Top Stories of 2020

Dec 31, 2020

Dr. Vinny's Most Interesting Questions of 2020

Dec 31, 2020

Top New Wine Videos of 2020

Dec 29, 2020

Ask Dr. Vinny Best of 2020

More In Dr. Vinny

Is Shiraz a Burgundy or a Bordeaux wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains which wines are labeled as Shiraz vs. Syrah, and …

Sep 20, 2021

I found a bottle labeled "Solera 1845." Is it really 175 years old?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how the solera wine aging system works, and what …

Sep 13, 2021

Is it OK to drink wine if the cork crumbles and pieces fall into the wine?

Got a crumbly wine cork? Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny has tips for how to deal.

Sep 7, 2021

Why do some winemakers use “used” oak barrels?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why barrels are toasted, and how a wine barrel's …

Aug 30, 2021

What does it mean if a wine is “snappy”?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains this term for lively, vibrant …

Aug 25, 2021

How can I tell if a wine cork is real or synthetic?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how to identify a polyethylene cork vs. a …

Aug 16, 2021