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Pinotgate Update: E&J Gallo’s Response

The following response to Wine Industry Insight’s March 25 article was received from E&J Gallo on March 26 from Susan Hensley, Vice President of Public Relations, E&J Gallo Winery.

WII: Will E.&. J. Gallo be recalling the 2008 Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir from retailers?

EJG: “No, the French courts investigation did not bring into question Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir dated after vintage 2006.”

WII:  Did E.&. J. Gallo have a laboratory sampling program for the imports that periodically checked the wines received against original samples? I am talking about looking at a chemical profile of the tested sample against a sample of the wine purchased, not a test for varietal identification.

EJG: See response below.

WII: Did E.&. J. Gallo have a tasting program for sampling imports?

EJG: “We have an extensive program to test and taste both the original samples and the actual product when received. We test for a range of characteristics such as alcohol content, residual sugar, and total acidity. Unfortunately, no test exists today to reliably determine the specific percentages of varietal content in a blended wine. The law requires, and our contract guaranteed, that the Pinot Noir we purchased be at least 85% Pinot Noir. Since this requirement permits 15% to come from other varietals, we have no way to confirm the percentages.

In addition to this ongoing testing, we are ISO 9001 certified. ISO 9001 is administered by the International Organization for Standardization and certifies that the policies and procedures of our quality systems are among best in class and provides a framework for continual improvements.”

WII:Does E.&. J. Gallo have any comment on the progress of the ongoing TTB investigation?

EJG: “We will continue to work with the TTB but don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on a pending investigation”