The Drinks Business
26th October, 2017 by Lucy Shaw

A bad batch of corks has wreaked havoc at Cayuse Vineyards in Washington, writing off nearly 3,000 cases of 2015 wine and at a potential loss of $3 million.

Among the wines to be affected were some of winemaker Christophe Baron’s top drops, including Bionic Frog Syrah, Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, En Chamberlin Syrah, En Cerise Syrah, Impulsivo Tempranillo and Widowmaker Cabernet.

In addition to the 2,995 cases of 75cl bottles written off by the faulty corks, 2,678 magnums were also ruined.

“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 are devastated at the loss of these wines. There is considerable anticipation for the 2015 vintage from Cayuse Vineyards and the wines were outstanding prior to that bottling in May.

“We are extremely disappointed to have produced such beautiful wines that we are now unable to release,” Baron said in a statement to his customers.

“Cayuse Vineyards is passionately committed to creating world-class wines. Obviously this was beyond our control and we’re very sorry. We really appreciate your ongoing trust,” he added.

Luckily the whole 2015 vintage wasn’t a write off as the 2015 wines bottled in 2016 and last year, including God Only Knows Grenache, Armada Vineyard Syrah, The Lovers and Edith Grenache Rosé weren’t affected.

Champagne native Baron made the move to Washington in the ‘90s, planting his first vineyard in 1997 and debuting with his first vintage in 2000.

His 24-hectare estate within the Walla Walla Valley AVA is farmed biodynamically.

Baron is working with his insurance company to ensure his customers are refunded for the faulty wines and has recalled all of the wines that have already been dispatched.

Most of the wines from Cayuse Vineyards are sold via mailing list and are often hard to get hold of. Bionic Frog costs around $300 (£232) a bottle.

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