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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I just saw Mondovino, and "micro-oxygenation" was mentioned. Can you explain what that means? Thanks.

—Bob K., Monte Sereno, Calif.

Dear Bob,

Ah, yes, the "Micro-oxygenate!" battle cry. It's really not that unusual or complicated of a concept.

Micro-oxygenation—"MO" or "MOx" for short—has been in use for about 25 years. While the oxygen in the air is necessary to winemaking, MO practices measure oxygen and introduce it to wine in small quantities, giving winemakers more control over it. Oxygen can be added to fermenting juice during a closed pumpover, or after primary fermentation but before malolactic fermentation. The desired effects are softer tannins, color stability, aroma integration and minimizing "reductive" flavors.

—Dr. Vinny

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