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 does “vin sec” mean on white wine like Riesling?
—Ted, San Francisco
“Vin sec” is French for “dry wine.” “Dry” typically means the opposite of “sweet” when it comes to wine. A wine is considered dry when the sugar from the grapes is converted completely to alcohol during the fermentation process. Most table wines are considered dry. But some wines—Riesling is one of them—are commonly made in a variety of styles, from dry to off-dry (or semi-sweet) to richly sweet dessert wines. The “vin sec” here is a helpful clue to the style of the wine inside.