Latest Dispatch from the Cork War Front (September 27, 2004)
Remember the iconic photo of Robert Mondavi dressed in a waistcoat made
of wine corks? Well, it must have inspired the folks at R.H. Phillips
in the Dunnigan Hills, California, with an idea as to how to promote their
new line of screwcap line.
In early November in several Canadian cities, R.H. Phillips will be conducting
in-store tastings of their Chardonnay and Shiraz. They'll be featuring
a large screen DVD to educate consumers about cork taint and to explain
why they've gone over to their new TOPP (Torqued On Pilfer Proof)
Consumers will have the dubious pleasure of sniffing a glass of corked
wine and then they can compare the experience with wine from the newly
designed line of screw-capped bottles.
In order not to infuriate the Portuguese cork producers even more, there
will be a display showcasing alternate uses of cork products. Their demonstrators
will be dressed in corks to draw attention to what the company calls the
"Cork Amnesty." There is even a website to visit (www.corkamnesty.com)
to beat the drum for "the end of the misuse of cork in wine bottles"
while promoting other "more appropriate" uses for cork, such
as flooring, bulletin boards and birdhouses!
R.H. Phillips is owned by the Canadian giant Vincor International, whose
other holdings include Kim Crawford in New Zealand (who have gone screwcap)
and Goundrey in Australia (whose Offspring label has gone screwcap, with
the Homestead line to follow in 2005). Curiously enough, the Canadian
companies have been slow to make the shift. Inniskillin has brought out
a Riesling and a Pinot Grigio under screwcap.