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.
My husband is nuts about wine. It was fine when all he wanted was to lay down a case or two for our children's weddings. But now he has remodeled our garage as a wine cellar; he spends his time rearranging the bottles, and the cars are parked in the driveway. What can I do?
--Widow of Wine
This is a common problem. But look at it this way: he could be out playing golf all the time. Then you wouldn't even have the liquid assets to console yourself with. My advice is to improve your cooking and start inviting friends over for dinner. Encourage him to open those bottles with you.
I was in a restaurant recently and ordered an expensive bottle of wine. The sommelier took the first sip! And it was a healthy swallow, too; I figure it cost me at least 10 bucks. I was incensed! Was he out of line?
You obviously have more money than wine sense. That sommelier was doing his job, which is to find out if that expensive bottle you ordered is still up to par. If it has gone bad, he'll cheerfully replace it, or suggest something different. Consider his sip as inexpensive insurance.
I recently brought two nice bottles of wine--the kind you reserve for a special occasion--to a dinner hosted by our neighbors. When we arrived, our host thanked us graciously and whisked the bottles away. Instead, we were served wine of inferior quality.
Were they rude in not serving us the wine we brought, or was I wrong to assume they should open it?
--Not Feeling Neighborly
I feel your pain. But it was a gift! A gift for the hosts is up to the hosts' discretion to open whenever they want.
If you'd like to drink the wine you bring to dinner, call the hosts in advance and consult with them. Try saying, "I'm really looking forward to dinner. What will you be cooking, so I can bring something that matches the food? Would it be okay if I brought my bottle of 1994 Screaming Eagle for us to share that evening?"
Or play it safe. Bring flowers.