Vega Sicilia writes off 500,000 bottles

Prestigious Spanish wine producer Vega Sicilia has been forced to write off over 500,000 bottles of wine due to excessive levels of sediment.

Pablo Alvarez

Vega Sicilia’s chief executive, Pablo Alvarez

The Ribera del Duero based estate has recalled 100,000 bottles of Pintia 2009, made in Toro, due to excessively high levels of deposit, and is offering to replace the 2009 vintage with the existing 2008 bottling or the forthcoming 2010 vintage.

In addition, the estate has also taken the decision not to release the 2010 vintage of Alión due to even higher levels of sediment.

The mishap, thought to have been caused by an error during the clarification process, has affected in excess of 500,000 bottles of wine at a cost of over £7.7m.

The 2006 vintage of Pintia

The 2006 vintage of Pintia

“Sediment does not alter the quality of these wines buy it does affect their aesthetic appearance and our prestige and image does not allow us to have them on the market,” the estate’s CEO, Pablo Álvarez in a statement.

“In spite of the cost involved, it was a necessary course of action, which we accept with all of its consequences,” he added.

Álvarez wrote to customers this week informing them of the problem and offering to replace bottles of Pintia 2009 with either the 2008 or 2010 vintages.

Fields, Morris & Verdin, Vega’s UK agent, will be offering the 2010 vintage of Pintia and the 2011 vintage of Alión later this year.

“There is no doubt that 2010 Alion is superb and we are sad that we will not be able to offer it in the UK at all. The problem is merely cosmetic,” Lenka Sedlackova, sales and marketing manager of FMV, told the drinks business.

FMV will be contacting UK customers this week who bought Pinita 2009 en primeur.

“We are happy to take back any unsold stock that our customers might still have, should they feel unhappy to keep selling it,” Sedlackova confirmed to db.

This is not the first instance Vega Sicilia has withdrawn wines – in 1999 the estate recalled the entire production of its Valbuena 5 Reserva 1994 due to a problem with cork taint.

The Álvarez family snapped up Bodegas Pintia in 1996 and have owned Vega Sicilia since 1982.

One Response to “Vega Sicilia writes off 500,000 bottles”

  1. Etienne says:

    Based on the figures mentioned in the article, the defective bottles have an average unit value of £15.4. If it’s really just a problem of clarification and the quality of the wine is not altered (according to the company’s CEO) then, why not uncork the whole batches of defective bottles, fine and/or filter and make a new bottling. This process, properly conducted, is absolutely not detrimental to the quality of the wine. Average cost per bottle around £1.5, i.e. some 10% of its value. The statements of Vega Sicilia, therefore, are hard to believe.

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