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 enjoy good white wines, particularly from France. I spend a fair amount on my wine and like my guests to enjoy it when we entertain. My mother-in-law and a cousin insist on putting ice in wine that has come from the refrigerator. I have tried saying things like, “You know, I have chilled this,” but to no avail. Should I just suck it up as the host?
—Hugh F., Bethesda, Md.
I think so! It could be that your family started putting ice in their wine to cool it off, and then they just developed a taste for it—either how cold it gets or how the ice dilutes the flavor, or both. I don’t make it a practice, but I’ve been known to transfer a couple of ice cubes from my water glass to my wine glass on a hot day, or if a red wine seems too warm to my taste. Sure, some folks might be shocked by that, but I don’t pay them any mind.
As you know, ice can dilute a wine’s flavor, but these days there are reusable ice cubes that are made of either soapstone or stainless steel. Maybe you can get a set and the next time your guest reaches for the ice cubes, you can ask them to give the reusable ones a shot and see if they like it, explaining that they will chill the wine without watering it down. Otherwise, being a good host means letting your guests enjoy their wine the way they wish, with a smile.