Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Why does wine taste better at a restaurant than it does at home?
—Dorothy, Elizabethtown, Ky.
It could be that the restaurants where you’re enjoying wine are serving the wine at a better temperature in better glassware from cellars that store wine in better conditions than at your home. You're also paying a lot more for wine at a restaurant than you pay for it at home, and some studies have found that price can influence how people perceive a wine's quality.
But I suspect it’s just context: Going out to eat at a restaurant is a special occasion (even if it’s just celebrating the fact that someone else is making dinner and washing the dishes), and that heightens our enjoyment of everything we’re experiencing during that meal, including the wine. Wine also tastes better when you’re in love and on vacation.