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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Does the process of blending take place before or after fermentation and why?

—Demetris, Nicosia, Cyprus

Dear Demetris,

Blending can happen in the vineyard, during fermentation, after fermentation, or not at all, depending on the winemaker's approach. A "field blend" refers to a wine that is made from multiple grapes that are grown, harvested, fermented and bottled together. Another option is to co-ferment grapes after they are picked. A third—more popular because of the flexibility it offers—is to make blending decisions after the wines are fermented, so the personality of the individual components can be better assessed. And finally, some winemakers prefer to make a wine that is a pure expression of a vineyard, even if that vineyard is entirely comprised of one type of grape.

—Dr. Vinny

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