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 there a polite way to tell a winemaker that I'm not enjoying their wines?
—John, Milford, Mich.
I’ve been in plenty of situations where a winemaker is asking me what I think of a wine and I’m uncomfortable answering. My most effective deflection is to tell them I’d rather hear them talk about their wines and hear their insight. What makes the wine special in their eyes? How do they see their winemaking decisions or vintage characteristics reflected in the glass?
If it’s more of a scenario where you feel like they're asking you to buy their wines (and you don’t want to), I think a simple, “I really need to think about it/check my cellar space” is a fine response. If they keep pressing, avoid saying anything negative. Instead, tell them which wine in the lineup is most distinctive or most appealing. Or segue into a conversation about how these wines are different from the regions and grapes you are more familiar with or keen on.