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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I’m a club member at a local winery and noticed that they were selling a current release on a wine flash sale site for half the cost that I paid two months earlier. The club manager said that these were two different wines with the same bottle label. The wine sold on the flash sale site was from a “bulk vineyard” while the wine sold to club members was from their own vineyard, and the same AVA. Sounds like shenanigans. Is it legal to bottle two different wines under the exact same label?

—David G., Santa Barbara, Calif.

Dear David,

It’s legal, but it might still feel like shenanigans. As long as the wine inside matches the information on the bottle label, a winery is technically allowed to make additional batches of wine. Unfortunately, that can be confusing for wine lovers because the additional batches can be made from different vineyard sources, picked at different times and even made with different winemaking techniques.

The good news is that I believe most wineries make a single wine, bottle it, and that’s it. I think these practices of additional bottlings are reserved for wines made in huge, mass quantities, or when a wine gets a lot of attention and the producers want to capitalize on that. You mentioned the word “bulk,” which usually refers to excess grapes or wine. Sometimes bulk grapes or juice can be snatched up and bottled as good values.

—Dr. Vinny

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