Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

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

My husband is nuts about wine. It was fine when all he wanted was to lay down a case or two for our children's weddings. But now he has remodeled our garage as a wine cellar; he spends his time rearranging the bottles, and the cars are parked in the driveway. What can I do?

--Widow of Wine

Dear Widow,

This is a common problem. But look at it this way: he could be out playing golf all the time. Then you wouldn't even have the liquid assets to console yourself with. My advice is to improve your cooking and start inviting friends over for dinner. Encourage him to open those bottles with you.


I was in a restaurant recently and ordered an expensive bottle of wine. The sommelier took the first sip! And it was a healthy swallow, too; I figure it cost me at least 10 bucks. I was incensed! Was he out of line?

--Thirsty Patron

Dear Thirsty,

You obviously have more money than wine sense. That sommelier was doing his job, which is to find out if that expensive bottle you ordered is still up to par. If it has gone bad, he'll cheerfully replace it, or suggest something different. Consider his sip as inexpensive insurance.


I recently brought two nice bottles of wine--the kind you reserve for a special occasion--to a dinner hosted by our neighbors. When we arrived, our host thanked us graciously and whisked the bottles away. Instead, we were served wine of inferior quality.

Were they rude in not serving us the wine we brought, or was I wrong to assume they should open it?

--Not Feeling Neighborly

Dear Not,

I feel your pain. But it was a gift! A gift for the hosts is up to the hosts' discretion to open whenever they want.

If you'd like to drink the wine you bring to dinner, call the hosts in advance and consult with them. Try saying, "I'm really looking forward to dinner. What will you be cooking, so I can bring something that matches the food? Would it be okay if I brought my bottle of 1994 Screaming Eagle for us to share that evening?"

Or play it safe. Bring flowers.


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.