Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am a director for the National Capital Sommelier Guild, a very active wine tasting club with 135 members. Another director has been using the term “sticky” to apply to all sweet wines, such as Tokaji and a Torres Muscat. Is it correct to use “sticky” this way, or should it only be applied for Australian dessert wines?

—Larry W., Ottawa

Dear Larry,

You didn’t mention whether or not your fellow director is Australian, which might explain his use of the term “stickies,” a nickname Aussies give to sweet wines. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying a late-harvest wine, or a wine influenced by botrytis, it’s easy to see how the honeyed texture and rich viscosity is the inspiration for the nickname.

I believe this Australian slang describes a particular style of wine not specific to their country, which means I wouldn’t be surprised at all if an Australian wine lover referred to a Tokaji as a “sticky.” I think among wine lovers the term is somewhat known outside of Australia, but I don’t see it widely used. The Australians also call a chicken a “chook” and a mosquito a “mozzie,” but like most slang terms, they usually have the most impact when they’re used in the area they originated.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.