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Q: Sulfites/California Wine/Headaches

by David on February 7, 2010

Question from Susan: We have a friend who claims that she can only drink French reds because California reds have more nitrates/nitrites and give her headaches. Is this possible or is it a bit of wine snobbery? Reply: Hi, Susan! Thanks for writing! I think your friend must have meant sulfites rather than nitrites. I’m […]


Q: Conversion rate for fermentation?

by David on April 27, 2009

Question from Karen: I have a question for you… If you crush wine grapes and the juice has 20% sugar, is the alcohol 5%??? Looking forward to your answer. Thank you. Reply: Hi, Karen! Thanks for writing! Here’s a brief reply from our winemaker, Geoff Gorsuch: Depending on all the parameters, yeast, temperature, nutrients, and […]


Question from Linda: I am still confused. Is white zinfandel considered a red wine and does it have the benefits I keep reading about red wine? Reply: Hi, Linda. Thanks for writing! It seems that confusion about white/red Zin is extremely common, as I look through our “Ask the Educator” archives! So, here goes: Even […]


Q: White Zin/Red Zin

by David on December 22, 2008

Question from Richard: I was recently informed that white zin is always red, is this correct? Is that a shortened form of white zinfandel? Reply: Hi, Richard! Thanks for writing! There’s so much confusion about Zinfandel, White Zin (yes, Zin is short for Zinfandel – maybe also a term of endearment) – and blush! Not […]


Q: How to pronounce French wine names?

by David on December 6, 2008

Question from Russ: I am unable to find a website that has a pronuciation link for French wine labels. For instance, how do you pronounce Echezeaux? Reply: Hi, Russ! Thanks for writing! I think we all “feel your pain” 😉 I’m sure that the French will forgive us for our mispronunciations, just as we forgive […]


Question from Janice: I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year and I want everything to be perfect! What wines go best with a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, spicy stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, etc? There will be about 20 people. Reply: Hi, Janice! Thanks for writing! I’m so impressed!  Congratulations […]


Question from Bob: Why do the wine bottles have certain shapes? Does the bottle shape mean anything? Why do some of them have indentations at the bottom? Reply: Hi, Bob! Thanks for writing! I think tradition is the short answer. But, just imagine how dull the shelves would look if all the bottles were the […]


Question from Marianne: Are the fires going to affect the harvest or the wines? Reply: Hi, Marianne!  Thanks for writing! My gut reaction to your question was “Naah!” but I’m glad I did my due diligence because I learned some amazing things I never would have dreamed of. Here in the Napa Valley we are […]


Q: Which wines make good cooking wines?

by David on June 26, 2008

Question from Jason: How do I choose the right wine to cook with?  Sometimes the recipe just says “red wine” or “white wine” and I’m not sure what to do. Reply: Thanks for writing, Jason!  We just love a man who cooks!  This is a good question because there are so many schools of thought […]


Q: Which Wines need to Breathe?

by David on June 9, 2008

Question from Jack: Which wines need to breathe? Reply: Hi, Jack! Thanks for writing! I suppose any well-made wine can benefit from getting a little air before serving, except sparkling wine and very old wine, but young reds seem to benefit the most. I’m going to suggest that you go a step beyond pulling the cork […]