Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley announced on Wednesday that he would not be releasing many of the 2015 Cayuse wines due to faulty corks. The text of the message to Cayuse customers was as follows:

Since 1997, we at Cayuse Vineyards have been dedicated to creating world-class wines. We are committed to biodynamic farming and our mission is to produce wine that is the best possible representation of our unique terroir. We simply will not release a wine that doesn’t meet our rigorous standards.

Earlier this year, in preparation for the May bottling of many of our 2015 wines, we purchased the highest quality corks from our long time supplier. Despite taking every possible step to ensure that we are crafting the best wines possible, during bottling we discovered paraffin particulates caused by faulty corks.

We stopped bottling immediately and we contacted the cork supplier right away. They told us they knew what the problem was with the first lot of corks and they assured us we could proceed with bottling the rest of the wines using a second separate lot of corks.

After bottling, we checked periodically to be certain there were no problems and to see how the wines were developing. When we discovered the presence of paraffin and an oily film in the wines bottled with the second lot of corks we decided to bring in industry experts to help analyze the wines. Their analysis included a Military-Style Protocol Sampling which confirmed the entire bottling was defective. We agree with the conclusions of the experts and as a result we will not be releasing any of the wines from our May bottling.

We have been working diligently with our insurance company to ensure that each customer receives a full refund for the following wines as soon as possible:

2015 Bionic Frog Syrah
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah
2015 Camaspelo
2015 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah
2015 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah
2015 Flying Pig
2015 Impulsivo Tempranillo
2015 Wallah Wallah Special Syrah #8 Magnums
2015 Widowmaker Cabernet Sauvignon

We are devastated at the loss of these wines which includes 2,995 cases (750ml) and 2,678 magnums. As you all know, there is considerable anticipation for the 2015 vintage from Cayuse Vineyards and the wines were outstanding prior to that bottling in May. In March, just two months before that bottling, Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate tasted barrel samples of these wines and scored them between 93 and 100 points. We are extremely disappointed to have produced such beautiful wines that we are now unable to release.

Not all is lost. The rest of the 2015 vintage (bottled in August 2016 and July 2017) remains pristine. The following wines will be distributed, as planned:

2015 Edith Grenache Rosé
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Viognier
2015 God Only Knows Grenache
2015 Armada Vineyard Syrah
2015 The Lovers

Cayuse Vineyards is passionately committed to creating world-class wines. We thank each of you for your ongoing loyalty, support and understanding. We know that you share our disappointment. Obviously this was beyond our control and we’re very sorry.

We really appreciate your ongoing trust.

In Vino Veritas.

Christophe Baron

* * *

This is obviously an enormous loss for the entire Cayuse team, for Cayuse’s customers, and for the larger Northwest wine industry. The 2015s were anticipated to be another in a string of superlative vintages from the winery.

These 2015 vintage wines were due to be shipped to customers later this year or, alternatively, picked up at the winery in April of 2018 on what is referred to as ‘Cayuse Weekend.’ That weekend will go forward. However, the 2015 wines listed above will no longer be released and therefore will not be available for pickup.

In a subsequent message to Cayuse customers, General Manager Trevor Dorland released a revised delivery schedule which is as follows:


2014 Armada Vineyard Syrah
2014 God Only Knows Grenache
2014 The Lovers
2014 Wallah Wallah Syrah Special #6 Magnum (Sold August 2016)
2015 Edith Grenache Rosé
2015 Cailloux Vineyard Viognier


2015 Armada Vineyard Syrah
2015 God Only Knows Grenache
2015 The Lovers
2016 Edith Grenache Rosé
2016 Cailloux Vineyard Viognier
2016 Bionic Frog Syrah
2016 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah
2016 Camaspelo
2016 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah
2016 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah
2016 Flying Pig
2016 Impulsivo Tempranillo
2016 Widowmaker Cabernet-Sauvignon