2015 Cayuse wines contaminated - pulled

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Kelly Walker
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2015 Cayuse wines contaminated - pulled

#1 Post by Kelly Walker »

Got this bummer e-mail this morning:

Since 1997, we at Cayuse Vineyards have been dedicated to creating world-class wines. We are committed to biodynamic farming and our mission is to produce wine that is the best possible representation of our unique terroir. We simply will not release a wine that doesn't meet our rigorous standards.

Earlier this year, in preparation for the May bottling of many of our 2015 wines, we purchased the highest quality corks from our long time supplier. Despite taking every possible step to ensure that we are crafting the best wines possible, during bottling we discovered paraffin particulates caused by faulty corks.

We stopped bottling immediately and we contacted the cork supplier right away. They told us they knew what the problem was with the first lot of corks and they assured us we could proceed with bottling the rest of the wines using a second separate lot of corks.

After bottling, we checked periodically to be certain there were no problems and to see how the wines were developing. When we discovered the presence of paraffin and an oily film in the wines bottled with the second lot of corks we decided to bring in industry experts to help analyze the wines. Their analysis included a Military-Style Protocol Sampling which confirmed the entire bottling was defective. We agree with the conclusions of the experts and as a result we will not be releasing any of the wines from our May bottling.

We have been working diligently with our insurance company to ensure that each customer receives a full refund for the following wines as soon as possible:

2015 Bionic Frog Syrah
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah
2015 Camaspelo
2015 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah
2015 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah
2015 Flying Pig
2015 Impulsivo Tempranillo
2015 Wallah Wallah Special Syrah #8 Magnums
2015 Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon

We are devastated at the loss of these wines which includes 2,995 cases (750ml) and 2,678 magnums. As you all know, there is considerable anticipation for the 2015 vintage from Cayuse Vineyards and the wines were outstanding prior to that bottling in May. In March, just two months before that bottling, Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate tasted barrel samples of these wines and scored them between 93 and 100 points. We are extremely disappointed to have produced such beautiful wines that we are now unable to release.

Not all is lost. The rest of the 2015 vintage (bottled in August 2016 and July 2017) remains pristine. The following wines will be distributed, as planned:

2015 Edith Grenache Rosé
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Viognier
2015 God Only Knows Grenache
2015 Armada Vineyard Syrah
2015 The Lovers

Cayuse Vineyards is passionately committed to creating world-class wines. We thank each of you for your ongoing loyalty, support and understanding. We know that you share our disappointment. Obviously this was beyond our control and we're very sorry.

We really appreciate your ongoing trust.

In Vino Veritas.
If you keep peeling back an onion you eventually end up with nothing.

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#2 Post by Joe B »

I would have gone postal.
J W@ll @ce

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TR Barry
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#3 Post by TR Barry »

Joe B wrote:I would have gone postal.
Can you elaborate? While frustrating that I won't receive the entire allocation I paid for I have respect for a producer that is not willing to bend their standards and put a product that they feel is tainted into the market. If you mean that you would have 'gone postal' on the cork manufacturer from the winery's perspective I can understand.
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#4 Post by Victor Hong »

Lawyers next......
WineHunter.

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#5 Post by scott davis »

I received the same message. That must be around a $3.5MM loss? Sounds like we may be waiting for them to collect insurance proceeds before they will credit customers. Bummer for these guys.
CT #10,000

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#6 Post by Clint S Q U I E R »

What other producers purchased the same corks?

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#7 Post by NED VALOIS »

Large BUMMER !

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#8 Post by Joe B »

TR Barry wrote:
Joe B wrote:I would have gone postal.
Can you elaborate? While frustrating that I won't receive the entire allocation I paid for I have respect for a producer that is not willing to bend their standards and put a product that they feel is tainted into the market. If you mean that you would have 'gone postal' on the cork manufacturer from the winery's perspective I can understand.
If I were the owner, I would have melted down over this. Of course they are doing the right thing.
J W@ll @ce

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#9 Post by bob poirier »

My first order after 7 year wait

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#10 Post by Tom Lee »

Wow. Just wow. Major bummer.

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#11 Post by Tom Lee »

Is the release party still viable with so few wines to pick up? This is bad for Walla Walla as a whole. The town fills up for that event.
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#12 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Painful for everyone.

I applaud the professional stance Cayuse has taken. Very pro-active, indicating, to me, high integrity. A terrible loss for Cayuse after getting their babies to the bottling line, which usually indicates the end of the production cycle.
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#13 Post by Mark Y »

Major bummer..but gotta love the commitment to quality, integrity, and high standards..

But yah if i was an owner, and lost most of my vintage production, i would be plenty upset.. even if financially insurance will cover, this is catastrophic.

Also, clint raises a great point - what other wineries used corks from this cork producer?
Y.e.

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#14 Post by Nolan E »

As a cellar guy, all I can think about is all those late harvest nights, the stress, the tension, all the days when it seemed like nothing is going your way. That's usually worth it in the end. Not this time.
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#15 Post by CJ Beazley »

bob poirier wrote:My first order after 7 year wait
Well that sucks.
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#16 Post by Mike Maguire »

The pickup party will go on as of now.

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#17 Post by R yan C omaz zetto »

I'm sure they did the right thing and I'm not questioning the move.

However, I'd be interested in how this actually affects the wine. I assume it is food grade paraffin wax, which is edible - found on many apples, for example. Most people would not consider apples contaminated by wax.

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#18 Post by Scott G r u n e r »

Wow. Class by Cayuse to fix it, even at the near total loss of wines.

Two questions.
1) What impact does the paraffin have on the wine? (I am assuming it isn't up to Cayuse Standards, but might still be yummy at a steep discount....)
2) Wonder if this will impact No Girls and Horsepower too....
//Cynic

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#19 Post by Mark Y »

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
1) What impact does the paraffin have on the wine? (I am assuming it isn't up to Cayuse Standards, but might still be yummy at a steep discount....)
What are they going to do with the wine? can they create a one off label.. sell it at 30 cents to the dollar? not only to recover cost, but if the taste isn't impacted, it can be a cheap early drinking wine? this is not a thought through idea, just brain storming.. are they just going to go destroy all the bottles? [cry.gif] [cry.gif] [cry.gif]

Or.. maybe they've opened the wine and confirmed that the taste is beyond repair?
Y.e.

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#20 Post by Mike Maguire »

Mark Y wrote:
Scott G r u n e r wrote:
1) What impact does the paraffin have on the wine? (I am assuming it isn't up to Cayuse Standards, but might still be yummy at a steep discount....)
What are they going to do with the wine? can they create a one off label.. sell it at 30 cents to the dollar? not only to recover cost, but if the taste isn't impacted, it can be a cheap early drinking wine? this is not a thought through idea, just brain storming.. are they just going to go destroy all the bottles? [cry.gif] [cry.gif] [cry.gif]

Or.. maybe they've opened the wine and confirmed that the taste is beyond repair?
I am guessing the insurance co. Will have something to say about that, since they will most likely now own the juice.

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#21 Post by Ron Slye »

TR Barry wrote:
Joe B wrote:I would have gone postal.
Can you elaborate? While frustrating that I won't receive the entire allocation I paid for I have respect for a producer that is not willing to bend their standards and put a product that they feel is tainted into the market. If you mean that you would have 'gone postal' on the cork manufacturer from the winery's perspective I can understand.
+1000. Really classy customer service. Kudos to them for pulling the tainted wines. I assume the cork producer and/or insurance will cover their loss.

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#22 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o »

Very classy move. After receiving the email in the first post above, I got a second email from Cayuse listing which wines I had purchased were being refunded, as well as the revised shipping schedule for the balance of the wines. For me, it was a 3-pack each of the 2015 Bionic Frog and 2015 En Chamblerlin Syrah. Bummed to miss out on the wines, but very much appreciate the integrity and frankness of the winery.

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#23 Post by Scott Everson »

So the supplier knew they sent out tainted corks but didn't admit to it until they were called out?

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#24 Post by Scott G r u n e r »

Scott Everson wrote:So the supplier knew they sent out tainted corks but didn't admit to it until they were called out?
I didn't read it that way- More that they quickly identified the root cause... however I would guess that they may be in some deep "negotiations" at this point.
//Cynic

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#25 Post by WilliamW »

Kudos to Cayuse for doing the right thing - this kind of integrity makes me want to support them even more.
Last edited by WilliamW on October 25th, 2017, 1:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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#26 Post by GaryW »

Just as long as no-one comes in here & shamelessly plugs their agéd Cayuse beauties already for sale in the Commerce section: I’m cool.
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#27 Post by R M Kriete »

Yet another reason to bottle with screw caps instead of cork!

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#28 Post by andy velebil »

Scott Everson wrote:So the supplier knew they sent out tainted corks but didn't admit to it until they were called out?
Wouldn't surprise me.

Anyone know what company they get their corks from?

I ask as if it impacted this producer I guarantee you it impacted other producers this same company has supplied other corks too.
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#29 Post by WilliamW »

R M Kriete wrote:Yet another reason to bottle with screw caps instead of cork!
Screw caps wear out my Coravin needles quickly. [basic-smile.gif]
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#30 Post by Leonard Taylor »

This totally sucks. I hope the release party is still on as I have already rented a house for it. Did I mention it sucks?
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#31 Post by Scott G r u n e r »

Leonard Taylor wrote:This totally sucks. I hope the release party is still on as I have already rented a house for it. Did I mention it sucks?
I expect the release party will still be on- just a lot less wines to pass out. There are still 5 types of 3 packs, plus mags to hand out, and the tasting they do is always of a future release, not the current. Maybe there will be a few bottles of paraffin special cuvee to try out as well.
//Cynic

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#32 Post by S. Stevenson »

They did what any legit producer would do, not knowingly sell tainted wine. Should I get kudos because I didn't rob a bank today?
Stan

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#33 Post by Leonard Taylor »

S. Stevenson wrote:They did what any legit producer would do, not knowingly sell tainted wine. Should I get kudos because I didn't rob a bank today?
You just did. Congratulations. Keep it up.
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#34 Post by Dan.Gord0n »

Wow, what a hit to the winery. Not surprised they are doing what they are doing and pulling the wines. Just too bad that something so unrelated to the wine in and of itself and just a part of the "packaging" destroys all of their hard work. Seems like they had pretty special vintage going as well. I'm just glad that they caught the issue before the bottles were shipped.

Next thought that goes through my mind - Cayuse cannot be the only buyer of those corks ..... so what other wines/wineries here in the US or even in Europe might be impacted by a faulty few batches of corks (seems like Cayuse got at least two faulty batches)....and, has the seller of the corks gone back to all of the other wineries that might be impacted and done testing, etc., etc.

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#35 Post by S. Stevenson »

Leonard Taylor wrote:
S. Stevenson wrote:They did what any legit producer would do, not knowingly sell tainted wine. Should I get kudos because I didn't rob a bank today?
You just did. Congratulations. Keep it up.

Bobby Jones could well be the game’s ultimate icon. He is renowned for his remaining an amateur (a point of significance that means more from a modern perspective than it was in his day when being a professional golfer did not equate to what it means today) and for accomplishing the game’s ultimate feat, winning the “Impregnable Quadrilateral,” the Grand Slam, in 1930. This latter feat is looked upon by many as the event that carried Jones up onto the shoulders of public consciousness, but in reality, an incident from five years prior did as much to promote his near mythical legend as anything else he ever did in his legendary career.

By the time of the 1925 U.S. Open at the WorcesterCountry Club in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bobby Jones was already a superstar with multiple Major victories to his credit. His starring role in the National Championship was cast alongside of many of the game’s reigning power houses, including Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Johnny Farrell and Francis Ouimet.

Jones’ first round was progressing by conservative measure when he approached his drive in the left rough at the par 4, eleventh hole. Addressing his ball, Jones suddenly backed off. Turning to Walter Hagen,with whom Jones was paired, he declared that his ball had inadvertently movedat address and he intended to assess a penalty stroke as a result, inaccordance with the rules of golf. Rules officials weighted in, even surveying members of the gallery to ascertain if anyone had seen the ball moved. Ultimately, a determination outside Jones himself could not be made that any infraction had occurred. Rules officials and Hagen begged Jones to not assess the penalty. Jones would have none of it and he would finish his first round posting a score of 77, well off the pace.

After the morning 18 holes, the two golfers once again found themselves tied. In what was uncharted territory for the USGA, the committee quickly decided that they would play another 18 hole match that afternoon to determine the national champion.

After 35 playoff holes, the two golfers came to the eighteenth hole, still tied. MacFarlane’s second shot safely found the top tier of the two-tiered green, leaving him in a safe position to make a par. Knowing that he needed a birdie to win, Jones attempted to hit his approach shot from the right rough, near the front tucked pin. Unfortunately for Jones, his strategy was too aggressive and his shot came to rest in the front bunker. From here, he would hit a remarkable recovery shot to only five feet from the pin, and if he converted that par putt, he would once again be tied with MacFarlane.

But it wasn’t to be. To the astonishment of the gallery, Jones missed the crucial putt and the 1925 U.S. Open would belong to Willie MacFarlane by the margin of one stroke.

As a result, Jones’ self-assessed one-stroke penalty in the first round took on major significance and would catapult him to a position of national stature (something rather rare for golfers at that time).

As Jones possessed mental acuity to match his prowess with a golf club, his passion to adhere to the game’s principles (and his own integrity) were illustrated in his post-round comments to the press following the penalty in the first round when after being praised for his honesty, Jones brushed such acclaim aside, countering, “You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”
http://fairwaysoflife.golf/2011/02/bobb ... n-himself/
Stan

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#36 Post by Leonard Taylor »

S. Stevenson wrote:
Leonard Taylor wrote:
S. Stevenson wrote:They did what any legit producer would do, not knowingly sell tainted wine. Should I get kudos because I didn't rob a bank today?
You just did. Congratulations. Keep it up.

Bobby Jones could well be the game’s ultimate icon. He is renowned for his remaining an amateur (a point of significance that means more from a modern perspective than it was in his day when being a professional golfer did not equate to what it means today) and for accomplishing the game’s ultimate feat, winning the “Impregnable Quadrilateral,” the Grand Slam, in 1930. This latter feat is looked upon by many as the event that carried Jones up onto the shoulders of public consciousness, but in reality, an incident from five years prior did as much to promote his near mythical legend as anything else he ever did in his legendary career.

By the time of the 1925 U.S. Open at the WorcesterCountry Club in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bobby Jones was already a superstar with multiple Major victories to his credit. His starring role in the National Championship was cast alongside of many of the game’s reigning power houses, including Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Johnny Farrell and Francis Ouimet.

Jones’ first round was progressing by conservative measure when he approached his drive in the left rough at the par 4, eleventh hole. Addressing his ball, Jones suddenly backed off. Turning to Walter Hagen,with whom Jones was paired, he declared that his ball had inadvertently movedat address and he intended to assess a penalty stroke as a result, inaccordance with the rules of golf. Rules officials weighted in, even surveying members of the gallery to ascertain if anyone had seen the ball moved. Ultimately, a determination outside Jones himself could not be made that any infraction had occurred. Rules officials and Hagen begged Jones to not assess the penalty. Jones would have none of it and he would finish his first round posting a score of 77, well off the pace.

After the morning 18 holes, the two golfers once again found themselves tied. In what was uncharted territory for the USGA, the committee quickly decided that they would play another 18 hole match that afternoon to determine the national champion.

After 35 playoff holes, the two golfers came to the eighteenth hole, still tied. MacFarlane’s second shot safely found the top tier of the two-tiered green, leaving him in a safe position to make a par. Knowing that he needed a birdie to win, Jones attempted to hit his approach shot from the right rough, near the front tucked pin. Unfortunately for Jones, his strategy was too aggressive and his shot came to rest in the front bunker. From here, he would hit a remarkable recovery shot to only five feet from the pin, and if he converted that par putt, he would once again be tied with MacFarlane.

But it wasn’t to be. To the astonishment of the gallery, Jones missed the crucial putt and the 1925 U.S. Open would belong to Willie MacFarlane by the margin of one stroke.

As a result, Jones’ self-assessed one-stroke penalty in the first round took on major significance and would catapult him to a position of national stature (something rather rare for golfers at that time).

As Jones possessed mental acuity to match his prowess with a golf club, his passion to adhere to the game’s principles (and his own integrity) were illustrated in his post-round comments to the press following the penalty in the first round when after being praised for his honesty, Jones brushed such acclaim aside, countering, “You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”
http://fairwaysoflife.golf/2011/02/bobb ... n-himself/
+1
Leonard Taylor

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#37 Post by Roy Piper »

Anyone know the cork producer yet?
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#38 Post by john stimson »

andy velebil wrote:
Scott Everson wrote:So the supplier knew they sent out tainted corks but didn't admit to it until they were called out?
Wouldn't surprise me.

Anyone know what company they get their corks from?

I ask as if it impacted this producer I guarantee you it impacted other producers this same company has supplied other corks too.
I just checked with my contacts in Walla Walla, and they don't know of anyone else affected so far. don't know what supplier they use.

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#39 Post by Leonard Taylor »

Hope Reynvaan didn't use them. I know they have been close in the past.
Leonard Taylor

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#40 Post by Tom Lee »

The obvious other wineries maybe using this cork producer are No Girls, Horsepower, La Rata and Hors Categorie.

Tom
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#41 Post by Nate Simon »

Gee, if only there was a modern, scientifically engineered alternative to sticking pieces of tree in the bottle...

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#42 Post by Alan Eden »

Anyone mention how did paraffin get in the corks to start with ?

I assume Cayuse uses a high quality solid cork or do they use a composite glued cork
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#43 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

GaryW wrote:Just as long as no-one comes in here & shamelessly plugs their agéd Cayuse beauties already for sale in the Commerce section: I’m cool.
I don't see that aged Cayuse has anything to do with this intended but halted 2015 release.
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#44 Post by ky1em!ttskus »

Alan Eden wrote:Anyone mention how did paraffin get in the corks to start with ?

I assume Cayuse uses a high quality solid cork or do they use a composite glued cork
I was wondering the same. And the email said they use the highest quality corks from the producer. Diam?

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#45 Post by Leonard Taylor »

They use real corks
Leonard Taylor

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#46 Post by John O' »

Wonder if there's a practical way to pour it out, separate the paraffin and rebottle?
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#47 Post by Doug Schulman »

Once again, the cork industry screws over producers and wine lovers. They really are terrible, as is their product. I think the supplier should definitely be named. I realize this one situation isn't because of the entire industry, but with all of their lies about consistency and irrational, sensationalist promotion of a sub-par product, this really bothers me.

I would think all of the wine could be opened, filtered, and rebottled. That would be very expensive and with somewhat questionable results, though, so I understand Cayuse going the insurance route.

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2015 Cayuse wines contaminated - pulled

#48 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

While I totally get the inquisitive nature here, outing the cork company will only result in the time honored practice of going down the rabbit hole. Then people will want lists of producers who buy from them. Then they will want specific wines and vintages. Then the phantom perceptions of varying cork defect will start being posted. Wineries will be pilloried for their lack of transparency.

This is the way of the Internet.
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

Gary Schulte
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2015 Cayuse wines contaminated - pulled

#49 Post by Gary Schulte »

John O' wrote:Wonder if there's a practical way to pour it out, separate the paraffin and rebottle?
My guess is that they will not do anything until they have settled insurance claim(s). After that I do hope that someone gets a shot at cleaning up the declassified wine. Should be possible with a scalable process. The only question is whether the paraffin is taking out flavor components. At least the base wine(s) might make for good blending components.

Gary Schulte
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Joined: May 27th, 2010, 7:30 am
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2015 Cayuse wines contaminated - pulled

#50 Post by Gary Schulte »

It also seems to me that the cork company would want to get out in front of this by identifying themselves and where in their process the mistake was made. Everyone ITB is going to find out anyways. I'm not so curious about what company had the issue but rather where in the process was there a QC problem and why did a customer have to notice it.

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