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,
I have heard of dry wine and wet wines. How do I tell which is which?
—Bob K., Port Orchard, Wash.
When it comes to wine, the opposite of dry is not wet, but sweet. Since most folks don't go around carrying hydrometers and such to measure the actual sugar level of a wine, the term "dry" usually refers to the perception of a lack of sweetness. It's not the most useful tasting term—most table wines are dry.
Because of the balance of elements such as acidity and tannins, a wine might be described as "drying," meaning that it feels like you have cotton balls in your mouth after trying it. The opposite of "drying" is "refreshing."