What is Mega Purple?

Ask Dr Vinny

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 was looking up wine terms and noticed a product called Mega Purple. I’ve never heard of it and no winemakers talk about it. Could you enlighten us?

—Bill W., Marimar Beach, Fla.

Dear Bill,

Mega Purple is a brand of wine concentrate made from grapes, and it brings a darker color and a touch of sweetness when added to wine.

You don’t hear much about it, because what winemaker wants to admit using it? From what I’ve heard, when it’s added into wine, it’s in very small amounts, like tenths of a percent by volume. We can only speculate which wines have Mega Purple, but most are probably in the under-$10 category.

Mega Purple (and other grape concentrates) can be a controversial topic among wine lovers. Some might look at Mega Purple as just one of the many tools at a winemaker’s disposal to make a better wine for less money. It can be seen as an extension of the practice of blending in some Petite Sirah or Alicante grapes to darken and enhance a wine’s profile. Others feel that grape concentrates are going too far; they are the steroids of wine, a “cheat.”

—Dr. Vinny

Winemaking Techniques Explained Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Should I refill my own wineglass, or ask the host or server to?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the etiquette or wine service, for hosts and for …

May 23, 2022

What’s the best way to remove the cork from an imperial (a 6-liter bottle of wine)?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains best practices for opening—and serving—large-for…

May 16, 2022

Are wine tasting note descriptors listed in order of prominence?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains that wine tasting notes are not …

May 9, 2022

How can a wine taster distinguish between so many different types of "pepper" in a wine?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains where some pepper notes in wine …

May 2, 2022

Is it OK to bring a bottle of rosé to dinner at a restaurant?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains corkage etiquette and BYO Dos and Don'ts

Apr 25, 2022

Why don't most 1.5-liter wine bottles have a vintage date?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why many wines are non-vintage, especially …

Apr 18, 2022