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Pennsylvania Recalls Exploding Prosecco

Plus, the wine industry loses Rutherford Hill founder William Jaeger Jr. and Germany's Bernhard Huber

Posted: June 19, 2014

• The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has issued a recall for Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013, a special cuvée made exclusively for sale in Pennsylvania's state-run wine stores. Consumers are encouraged to dispose of the product immediately to avoid a potential safety hazard. A small number of the bottles, sold for $13 at approximately 180 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores in Pennsylvania beginning this month, have spontaneously exploded. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is working with the vendor to determine an underlying cause for the explosions. The bottles have been removed from Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores statewide. “We have reports that eight bottles had a problem and burst, out of 30,000 bottles that were imported," Jolanta Tomaselli, operations manager at Indigenous Selections, told Unfiltered. "We examined the wine and it is not re-fermenting. There is nothing wrong with the wine. The only issue that we know of is that the bottles seem to have a lesser weight than they are supposed to have. This is a total surprise for us because the bottle-delivery documents issued by the manufacturer in Italy stated that the bottles’ weight was correct.” No injuries have been reported as a result of the explosions. Consumers may contact their local Fine Wine & Good Spirits store for a full refund.

William Jaeger Jr., vintner and founding partner in Freemark Abbey and Rutherford Hill, died June 2 in Twin Falls, Idaho, after a brief illness. He was 88 years old. “He was a man of conviction, principal and honor,” said Jaeger’s son, Jeff, “above all, he was an entrepreneur with a passion for excellence.” Born in Berkeley, Calif., Jaeger received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley before serving as U.S. naval officer in World War II. Jaeger received his law degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1951 and began working as a chief aide to Senate Majority Leader William Knowland in Washington, D.C. He later returned to California, working as an attorney and overseeing his family’s oil business in Wyoming. Many of Jaeger’s University of California friends were either born in Napa or frequent visitors to the valley, and Jaeger, his wife, Lila, and their four children spent their summers in St. Helena. Jaeger grew fond of Napa and saw a future in wine. In 1967 he became a founding partner of Freemark Abbey, along with six others, including former Hanzell winemaker Brad Webb. In 1976, Jaeger acquired the former Souverain of Rutherford Winery and transformed it into Rutherford Hill Winery. Rutherford Hill Winery was purchased by Terlato Wine Group in 1996, and Freemark Abbey was sold in 2001. Lila passed away unexpectedly of heart failure in 2001 and Jaeger married Beverly Harris, beginning a new chapter of his life in Bellevue, Idaho. Jaeger remained involved in the wine business until his death, including the farming of the family’s 225 acres throughout the Oak Knoll District and American Canyon. He is survived by his wife and many family members.

Spätburgunder pioneer Bernhard Huber died June 11 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 55. Bernhard and his wife, Barbara, took over the family’s 12 acres of vines in 1987 and soon began bottling under their own label instead of selling the grapes to the local winzergenossenschaft (co-op). Incorporating Burgundian vineyard and cellaring techniques, Weingut Bernhard Huber quickly established itself as one of the finest producers of Spätburgunder in Baden. As the grape’s popularity surged in the region, Huber’s vineyard holdings grew to 64 acres. Bernhard’s son, Julian, a recent graduate of the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute, has been working and learning alongside his father since early childhood and will take over winery operations. Huber is survived by his wife, Barbara, son Julian and daughter Alina.

Jay Kaplan
Atlanta, GA —  June 19, 2014 7:08pm ET
So I guess you shouldn't Coravin this Prosecco.
Morewine Bishar
Del Mar, California —  June 21, 2014 1:42pm ET

Sounds like the Indigenous Selections Prosecco has those sort of flavors that a certain famous wine critic likes to tell us "literally explode out of the glass!"

A little too exciting for my dinner table, I think!

David Clark
The Wine Connection
Lucy L Hey
ballwin, mo —  June 22, 2014 11:45am ET
Perhaps there's an uneven thickness point in the glass therefore even if the total weight of the bottle is correct there's a weak point that can't hold up to the pressure. Or, another theory, what if the glass of a few bottles was inadvertently scored with a sharp object in the crating or uncrating process?

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