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,
Is it OK to mix red wine with grape juice? Does it matter if one enjoys it that way?
—Wendy, South Africa
People have been diluting and mixing their wine as long as wine has been around. Ancient Greeks and Romans mixed their wine with water (or, more accurately, their water with wine) as a way to improve the taste of their stagnant water supply (the alcohol also served to kill potentially harmful bacteria). Mulled wine dates back to the 2nd century, and sangria has been around since not long after that. I see people mix wine with sparkling water or even soda, and I’ve been known to add a few ice cubes to a glass of wine when the temperature is too warm.
You’re allowed to enjoy your wine however you want to, but I don’t think you’re going to start any new trends. I think most people drink wine because they like the way it tastes, but I can imagine mixing it with grape juice as a way to make a bad wine taste better (or at least, go down easier). And while I’m an open-minded wine-advice columnist, not everyone else is as open-minded. If you order a glass of half-and-half wine and grape juice in a restaurant, you’re probably going to get some strange looks.