De Bortoli plays it safe with recall

Steve Webber of De Bortoli Wines (Photo: De Bortoli Wines)

De Bortoli has recalled its Woodfired Heathcote Sparkling Shiraz because of a potential fault in the glass, which could result in the bottle shattering.

It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a wine being recalled, an activity usually reserved for cars.

Advertisements prominently placed in capital city newspapers recently advised customers who had bought this wine to arrange its return to De Bortoli, even though the risk appears minimal. If a bottle is subjected to unusual heat it could indeed shatter, and this could cause serious injury from flying shards of glass, as the wine is under pressure.

The ads advise customers how to handle the bottles and how to go about having them returned to the winery. Further information is here or phone 1800 697 224.

Chief winemaker at De Bortoli’s Yarra Valley winery, Steve Webber, told me he believed only three or four bottles were known to have broken. The break happened where the base joins the body of the bottle.

Instead of the usual paper label, this wine has its labelling printed directly onto the glass. Webber said because the bottles had been subjected to unusual handling in order to have their labels printed on, some of them may have suffered slight damage.

“If it’s only four bottles in 20,000, it’s not a big problem, but we didn’t think it was worth taking the risk. There could be a risk of injury; also red wine on people’s white carpets is not desirable. You only have to get a little knock or scratch on a sparkling wine bottle and it can be weakened.”

If such a bottle is subjected to unusual heat, such as being left in the boot of a car in summer, this could cause it to explode.

Webber said the company had only been able to account for about 900 bottles.

“Most of it seems to have been consumed. Some people said they wanted to keep it and drink it. It is a lovely little wine. But we say we’d prefer to pick it up from your place, and replace it with more stock when it’s available, or refund you the money.”

The best thing to do if you have a bottle and are concerned is to keep it cool, keep it wrapped in a towel inside a plastic bag, and contact De Bortoli.

The wine is a non-vintage and retails in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT for about AUD $20-$25.

2 thoughts on “De Bortoli plays it safe with recall”

  1. Mahmoud Ali says:

    This may technically be a wine recall but really it had everything to do with a bottle defect and nothing to do with the wine. Kudos to the De Bartolis.

    I do rememeber a recall that was made by the owners of Chateau Phelan-Segur, a Cru Bourgeois in the Haut Medoc. They released the 1983 vintage only to discover that it was marred by some kind of spoilage. They attributed it to an effect of the fertilizer that was used in the vineyard and sued the fertilizr company. They recalled the 1983 vintage and then did not release any wines for another couple of years. I believe they either won their suit or settled with the fertilizer company.

    Another debacle was the Austrian wine scandal. That was where a number of producers rorted the system by adding a chemical related to anti-freeze in order to add a glycerine texture to the wine, thereby passing of them off as superior wine. When this came to light there were plenty of recalls all over the world, including perfectly good wines, as authorities tried to get s handle on which wines were adulterated.

    Cheers ……………….. Mahmoud.

    1. Mahmoud Ali says:

      Oops, I misspelled De Bortoli, sorry.

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