Written By: Jaime Valdes-Riench, owner of Travel & Events with Style
Image credit to: With Style Designs, Locations: Gray Monk and Quail's Gate Estate Winery
We recently had the pleasure of enjoying various estate wineries in the Okanagan region. We made our way threw the area, and the two that stand out in my mind the most where Gray Monk (http://www.graymonk.com) and Quails Gate (http://www.quailsgate.com). Both are grand estates and both offer amazing wines. You can definitely taste the elegance and fine artwork. Both have lovely restaurants that I encourage people to take the time to enjoy, especially if you have taken the time to take their tours and participated in their wine tastings.
During the tour at both estates, I was very interested to hear the both estates will be moving into Stelvin® screw top bottle closers for most of their wines after this harvest season. Now their wines are far from being considered “cheep wines”. Both estates have won many medals. Gray Monk’s 2008 Gewurztraminer won Double Gold at All Canadian Wine Championships, their 2008 Latitude 50 White also won Gold, and their 2007 Odyssey White Brut won Silver. So there is something to be said when estates such as these make such a change.
From my understanding, most wineries are concerned about the damage that has occurred to the world’s cork trees and this is one of the many reasons to make this change over. As the world becomes more and more aware of our impact we have on it, this becomes just another example of making a positive change. Most wineries will continue to use the “cork” corks for the longer aged wine as they allow for the appropriate oxidation which is imperative for these wines to ferment and “age” to their full potential.
Some other wineries have experimented with synthetic corks, but what they have found is that these corks may have an inability to oxidize the wine correctly, thus have significantly shortened the wine’s life. There is also a concern of certain toxins slowly seeping into the wines since there is a significant amount of time they are in the bottles. The overall outcome has been less than desirable.
The most recent change over will be to use the Stelvin® screw caps on a regular basis (http://www.stelvin.com ). It has taken some time for the research to take place to really analyze the effects on the wines, but considering the alternatives it appears a lot of estates are ready for this change.
So please, when you are considering your next wine choice, please do not be under the assumption that the wines on the shelves are not up par just because of their choice of closure. These artisans have truly taken years and generations to accomplish their medium of art. So when in doubt, ask the store clerk or estate shop representative for guidance. It is would be such a same to miss out on something that could be truly enjoyed.
Special thanks to all the lovely service providers at Gray Monk Estate Winery & Quail's Gate Estate Winery!