In an interesting note, a 4000-case shipment from New Zealand winery Te Kairanga was rejected by a German company due to a high level of copper. The customer claimed the level of copper in Te Kairanga’s pinot noir (3.6 parts per million) was well over the European recommended limit (1ppm).

As you’ll recall, copper is typically added to eliminate smelly agents in wine but then drained before the wine is bottled. Some people blame the shift from corks to screw caps for the increase in copper, claiming too much copper is added when screwcaps are used. Others claim the practice is no longer taking place.

Apparently, New Zealand doesn’t routinely check copper levels in exported or imported wines. Could this pose problems for New Zealand’s ever-growing $700 million export wine business?

Apparently not. Te Kairanga’s chief executive Ian Frame says this is an isolated incident. “The product is not branded Te Kairanga, and in all the other countries we deal with this is not a problem.”

New Zealand Wine chief executive Philip Gregan went so far as to say that Germany is known as a “stickler for technical points” when it comes to wine.

“If there’s an issue that comes out of a customer in Germany, it never surprises me,” he continued.