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Napa Valley Winery Leads Select Group of Vintners Featuring Taint-Free Corks from Cork Supply USA

Posted on February 28, 2014


NAPA VALLEY, CA, (February, 2014) –When a bottle of wine is “corked” -- or found to be spoiled -- the culprit is usually a tainted cork. Often, but not always, the odor is described as smelling like a wet dog, damp basement or even a moldy newspaper. Usually, the wine is undrinkable. Even the most expensive wines are susceptible, and a “corked” bottle of wine has been the bane of many a winemaker’s existence for centuries.

In an effort to eradicate tainted corks, Brown Estate, a Napa Valley winery well known for its highly regarded Zinfandels, has partnered with Cork Supply USA, pioneers of an extensive cork inspection process. Each individual cork is placed in a vial glass container with two drops of added pure HPLC-grade water. After 24 hours, testers sniff each cork, one by one, for off-aromas, thereby ensuring no tainted corks reach the winery. The result: every bad cork was discovered and discarded prior to the bottling of all 2012 vintage Brown Estate wines.

According to winemaker David Brown, “This approach has significantly minimized the problem of bad corks, well below any level we have achieved before. Knowing that we can offer our clients delicious wines with reliable corks gives us peace of mind.”

Brown Estate’s ongoing efforts to procure failsafe corks began last year. According to Amelia Forney of Cork Supply USA, her company’s inspection program (named DS100) is new to the wine industry. She estimated that less than 50 wineries participate in the program.

For his part, Brown spoke passionately about his craft. “Winemaking is truly a labor of love. From the planting phase through the harvesting of the grapes, leading to the bottling and aging process – each step is carefully tendered and painstakingly monitored. The cork must do its part to ensure the integrity of the process and the wine.”

Brown Estate’s production during 2013 (primarily 2012 vintage wines) topped 8000 cases, including their signature Napa Valley estate Zinfandel (2,100 cases), four single vineyard estate Zinfandels – Mickey’s Block, Rosemary’s Block, Westside, and Chiles Valley (700 cases each) – and their 2012 Chaos Theory Zinfandel/Cabernet /Petite Sirah blend (1,400 cases), 2012 Chardonnay (250 cases), 2012 Petite Sirah (425 cases) and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (400 cases). All of these wines will be released in 2014.

The Napa Valley Zinfandel, Chaos Theory, and Cabernet Sauvignon are being released in February to restaurants and retail outlets in selected markets and will be available directly to consumers through the winery’s website. The single vineyard zinfandels are sold exclusively through the winery, as is their $125-a-bottle 2010 Brown Recluse reserve Cabernet/Zinfandel blend (150 cases). The 2012 Chardonnay and reserve 2011 Recluse Zinfandel (150 cases) will be released only to Brown Estate wine club members.

Owned and managed by the Brown Family, the boutique winery is located in the mountainous Sage Canyon area of Napa Valley, 14 miles east of downtown St. Helena. For additional information on Brown Estate, visit, or call the winery at 707-963-2435.

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