Tom's blog

We all want to know the same things

I've moderated a handful of tastings in recent weeks and welcome the opportunity to take the pulse of wine enthusiasts. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that people often have the same questions about wine.

-- Do sulfites give me headaches? No. Headaches are generally caused by one of several influences: you drank too much and dehydrated, there was a lot of sugar or tannin in the wine you so enjoyed, or there were a lot of histamines. Most commonly, it's all about dehydration. But, second, it's about the histamines that are naturally found in bacteria-fermented products, such as cheese and wine.  Red wine can have as much as 200 percent more histamines than white wine, hence many people say they get more headaches from drinking red wine.

-- How often can I keep an open bottle of wine? Every wine reacts different to air, but generally I keep wines no more than a couple of days. A wine bottle that is less than half filled is subject to a fast decline because of the amount of air in the bottle. The wines will last as long as a week if you pump the air out of the bottle with a device like the Vacuvin. Red wine can last longer if you store it in the refrigerator and then let it come back to room temperature.

-- Do aerators work? Yes. These clever devices that sit in the neck of a carafe or a glass expedite the breathing process that can come with decanting a wine for an hour or so. Generally, letting a wine breathe helps young or moderately old wine.  However, it is a gamble to decant a wine that is more than 20 years old -- the aromas and flavors can disappear in no time.

Those are just several of the many questions I get.