Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
 

Editor's Letter

 

The Irony of a Corked Bottle

August 2008
 
by Jim Gordon
 
 
It was another party marred by another bottle of corked wine. But it wasn't just any party. It was a reception for the 2008 Merit Award winner of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. A couple of dozen ASEV members, friends and family members gathered in a hotel suite in Portland, Ore., to celebrate Bob Steinhauer's acceptance of the award, and his memorable address at the ASEV annual meeting (see "Robert Steinhauer Reflects").

As Steinhauer told war stories, friends hugged him, greeted each other, snacked from a buffet and chose from a large variety of wines to sip. Most if not all were from the Beringer-Blass-Fosters portfolio, since Steinhauer spent the biggest part of his career developing and managing vineyards for Napa Valley-based Beringer.

I drank a glass of the barrel-fermented Beringer Alluvium Blanc and soon went back for a taste of something red. The bartender poured me a Beringer Howell Mountain wine, which if I recall was the Bancroft Ranch Merlot. It smelled like a musty basement and tasted flat. In a room full of Ph.D.s, it wasn't difficult to find someone to confirm my diagnosis: TCA. The next bottle opened was fine, so the TCA presumably came from cork taint, not cellar taint.

Yes, it was just another corked bottle, and one hopes that no more than 1% of that bottling run came out corked. But to be at the biggest annual pow-wow of American wine scientists, where brilliant research was presented and praised, and then to find a great bottle of wine, grown in a vineyard that was nurtured for years by the staff of the Merit Award winner, now spoiled by--allegedly--the cork, was ironic in the extreme.

With all the grapegrowing research published during the 40 years of Steinhauer's career, and all the innovations that he helped implement in vineyards, the precision grapes he and his successors grow can still be ruined by a faulty closure that somehow eluded the best research on cork quality control.

Fortunately, incidents like these are becoming more rare, as natural corks make a comeback in quality (see "NATURAL CORK'S REBIRTH"). But there is still room for improvement. I'm sure we all look forward to the day when winemakers can select a closure option without cork taint being a consideration.

In the meantime, however, the closure business remains a dynamic one (see "Finding Closure"). For one thing, Oeneo's agglomerated cork called DIAM is making waves with a no-TCA guarantee. For another, the synthetic cork makers have expanded their lines and developed better performance. Screwcaps continue to gain ground. Other options, like glass stoppers, may be sleeping giants.

The recent international conference, O2inWines, is another welcome addition to the debate, and we'll cover it in our next issue. The conference brings attention to the fact that once TCA is set aside, the important issue in closures is oxygen. How much do you want in your wine at bottling, and how much do you want in your wine when the customer opens it? What type of closure will get your wine reliably from point A to point B?

Read the "Viewpoint" of a journalist who made a close study of closures for his 2007 book, To Cork or Not to Cork,. George Taber has a better perspective on the changing closure market than most any observer.

Capsules are part of the closure equation, too. Jane Firstenfeld asks (see "Taking Care of Capsules") if you are taking advantage of the many new options for printing and decorating on the bottle neck to make your product stand out? Look around, as Jane did, at how many capsules are still not decorated, or are decorated only on the ends, which often aren't visible at retail.

Whatever your current closure challenges are I hope that you find this, our third annual Closures Issue, valuable. The marketplace for closures and capsules has evolved considerably since the first such issue in August 2006. But what I wrote then still applies: It's great that winemakers have so many options in closures, but it can also be daunting to decide which solution best suits you. Please use this issue of Wines & Vines to give yourself an edge in the decision-making process.
 
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
 
SEE OTHER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN ï¿½ CURRENT COLUMN ARTICLES »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
June 2015 $602 million
5%
$8,101 million
6%
June 2014 $571 million $7,676 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
June 2015 $92 million
6%
$1,901 million
14%
June 2014 $87 million $1,669 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
June 2015 366
22%
261
19%
June 2014 300 220
     
 
MORE » Released on 07.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • July 20-31
     
    UC Davis, OIV marketing program
     
  • July 30
     
    Seminar on hotel wine sales
     
  • July 31 - August 2
     
    West of West
     
  • August 1
     
    Urban Wine Xperience
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Does Red Blotch Affect Wine? »
 
I have a grapevine in my polytunnel in east London which is showing signs of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Central Coast Wine Harvest Begins »
 
Here at Flying Goat Cellars in Lompoc we harvested last week the Bien Nacido Pinot...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
I'm curious as to how 'guest' defines wine and their rational for claiming this is...
Reader: Rob McDonald
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
This is not wine. This is aromatized drink. Like vermouth.
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Gallo, Barefoot Dominate Off-Premise Sales »
 
If the wines listed make up 80% of the US wine sales I'm proud to...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Director Of Marketing
 Healdsburg, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Winemaker
 Peachland, BC
Winemaker/Enologist
 Sales And Merchandisin...
 East Bay /Contra Costa County, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Compliance Specialist
 Santa Rosa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Club & Tasting Ro...
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Vineyard Manager
 Mccordsville, IN
Vineyards
 Weighmaster
 Oakville, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Hospitality And Events
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Harvest/Cellar Worker
 Calistoga, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Warehouse Supervisor
 Stockton, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.