jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bad news for winemakers in Catalonia, Spain. It seems that they won't be able to get the DO for their wines if they use alternative closures such as screwcaps and synthetic corks.

Two news pieces (here and here) report on the decision by the Catalan Minister of Agriculture and INCAVI (the Catalan institute of vines and wines) to outlaw the use of non-cork closures in the region, which includes some of Spain's key vineyards.

But get a load of this: "This Spanish law is yet another endorsement for the cork closure," says Elisa Pedro, director of communication for APCOR, the consortium of Portuguese cork producers. "Spanish law makers and wine producers are responding to what wine drinkers the world over have been telling us for a long time - cork is a sign of quality for wine." Am I living in a parallel universe? How can this not be a huge step backwards for the wine industry? It's certainly a business opportunity for Gregor and the guys at ProCork.


At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Peter Hodder-Williams said...

I think that this is most unlikely. I know of a number of cellars that either are using non-cork stoppers, or are seriously considering (ie investing money in new plant) moving to Stelvins. My understanding is that for D.O. Catalunya Stelvins are already approved, and I believe in use.

I suspect that APCOR has rather overplayed it's hand on this. Maybe by reading a little too much into the following:

What has happened recently (3rd March 2006) is that various D.O.s have just published new versions of their regulations (Alella, EmpordÓ, PenedŔs, Pla de Bages and Conca de BarberÓ) all of which have a line that basically says:

"...closures should guarantee the quality of the product, preferably with a natural cork stopper"

Of the five D.O.s listed there are slight variations on two versions: one explicitly says that the Regulating Council will approve other kinds of closures "when the circumstances make it advisable" (whatever that means); the other version says the Regulating Councils can/will approve other elements of bottling that ensure the quality and prestige of the wines"

The full regulations are published on the INCAVI website and the original lines I've paraphrased above are:

...el seu tancament es realitzarÓ de manera que es garanteixi la qualitat del producte envasat, utilitzant preferentment taps de suro natural. El Consell Regulador aprovarÓ prŔviament la resta d'elements d'envasat que assegurin la qualitat i el prestigi dels vins.


El taponat de les ampolles dels vins emparats per la Denominaciˇ d'Origen PenedŔs es durÓ a terme amb tap cilÝndric de suro natural o aglomerat de suro. No obstant aix˛, quan les circumstÓncies aixÝ ho aconsellin, el Consell regulador podrÓ aprovar la utilitzaciˇ d'un altre tipus de tap.

Search for "tap" (Catalan for "stopper") to find the appropriate lines if you want to see them in context.

I could find nothing on the INCAVI website to back up any specific move beyond this, and politically I think INCAVI would be on fairly dodgy ground even if it did want to do this against the wishes of a growing number of producers.

Peter HW

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Peter, thanks for this - really helpful to have an informed source like you contribute.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Paulo Coelho Vaz said...

Isn't stupid to have cork on Coke or Pepsi bottle?
So why have it a wine bottle?

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Coke and Pepsi have somewhat different closure requirements to wine - I guess this is the simple answer.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger James said...

Forget Gregor and the guys at Pro Cork, what about the guys at Oeneo and DIAM? Their corks haven't any TCA at all


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