A health ministry investigation uncovered labeling discrepancies in several of Coopers Creek Winery's 1995 and 1996 export wines, indicating that the Auckland area producer may have sold cheaper wines as higher-quality varietals. Auditors found Coopers Creek guilty because there was insufficient juice available in those two years to meet the winery's designated production of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Merlot.
Coopers Creek managing director Andrew Hendry said the mislabeling was due to "oversights" and "mistakes," particularly in the winery's record-keeping. The winery's 1997 wines were found to be true to the label.
Recently, Lintz Estate in Martinborough returned a trophy it won at the 1998 Air New Zealand Awards after the Wine Institute found that the 1997 Shiraz served at the awards dinner differed from the 1997 Shiraz that won the prize. The winery now plans to change its bottling and blending procedures.
And on Jan. 28, The Press, a New Zealand newspaper, reported that Marlborough's Cairnbrae Wines has asked consumers to return about 200 cases of its 1996 oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc, which it believes may have been mislabeled. In the article, the managing director of the winery indicated that it may have received a different wine than the one it ordered from its contracting facility.
The Wine Institute's new quality-assurance measures aim to safeguard New Zealand wines' authenticity by ensuring regulatory compliance for export wines, reviewing the industry's record-keeping requirements and setting up procedures for independent audits.
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