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,
What is the "bin number" for? I see that on some wine labels. Is it a reference to the storage in the cellar back in the winery or is it a reference to a parcel in the vineyard?
—Ludovic, Cancun, Mexico
Some Australian wines have bin names (à la Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay). Originally, bin numbers referred to a storage area in a wine cellar where wines were held before being sold. Lots of wine (in tank or bottle) were numbered for identification purposes—which is very helpful before the wine is labeled—so referring to a bin number became shorthand for the wine stored there.
These days, bin numbers don't refer to a storage location as much as they indicate a wine made in a consistent style. Like any brand name, a bin number is an attempt to give a wine buyer a way to remember a particular wine and its style.