Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

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

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I see a lot of questions regarding humidity. Wine writer Matt Kramer wrote in his article Wine Myths that humidity is not important for the wine buyer, citing that 1) the wine is already in the bottle and less affected by changes in humidity, and 2) the wine is placed on its side, continually moistening the cork. He does mention the importance in the winery as oak barrels are used, which are directly affected by humidity. What do you think?

—Chad, Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Dear Chad,

I believe that constant temperature is the most important aspect of cellaring, but I think humidity is important, too. I’ve had corks that were dried out, not only crumbling in my hands and making me swear, but also prematurely aging beautiful bottles of wine and making me swear. As long as most ageworthy wines continue to be bottled under cork, my recommendation will remain to keep a humid cellar.

Let me put it this way: having a cellar with the recommended 70 percent humidity won’t hurt your wines. And humidity is one of the easiest things to control. If you need more, you just put a pan of water in your cellar. Boom, humidity! I have a lot of money and memories stocked away in my cellar. Why would I skimp on something so simple? By the way, I almost never encounter a crumbly cork from my own humid cellar.

—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.