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The first wine bearing our new label Mendovino has just been released. One hundred cases of 2005 Mendovino Rosé was produced exclusively for our Advance Tasting Club, to be followed this August by the 2005 Mendovino Red Table Wine.
The Mendovino package was conceptualized by owner Allan Green and executed by Fort Bragg artist John Chamberlin. John's talents as a designer, illustrator and musician have become legendary on the Mendocino coast over the years. One look at the Mendovino label and you can see why! His work captures perfectly the spirit and feeling of Mendocino County. A poster of the label is in the works.
An essay by Allan Green
The new Mendovino package announces another first for us: screwcaps! Some of you may wonder why a small producer of high quality wines would even consider alternatives to corks; here's why I think this is an idea whose time has come.
We make roughly 5,000 cases of wine a year. That's 60,000 bottles. If 2% (a reasonable industry-wide average) of those bottles have moldy corks, that means about 1,200 bottles of our wine taste "slightly funky" at best. So 1,200 customers each year taste our wine and say politely (since all our customers are extremely polite), "Well, that wine's not so great." Most of the bottles will not be so dramatically "corked" that the cork is obviously to blame. In most cases the customer just assumes that the wine always tastes that way and determines never to try it again. So we're turning off 1,200 customers every year. That's crazy! Is there any other industry that allows its packaging to destroy 2% of its product?
Cork producers are making major efforts and significant progress in reducing the number of corked bottles. There are also several types of synthetic corks and other alternative closures being investigated. Screwcaps are the oldest, simplest and most thoroughly tested of any of them. Research so far indicates that wines properly sealed with screwcaps taste as good as, if not better than, the same wines bottled with corks, at least for a couple of years. The jury is still out on the effects of screwcaps on long-term aging.
To many people screwcaps connote cheap wine, and there certainly is not the tradition and romance associated with wine sealed with a cork. I'm certainly not ready to completely abandon corks myself, and I'm curious to hear the feedback from our customers. So please let me know what you think of the idea!