Gordon Getty, Bill Getty and Gavin Newsom, co-owners of PlumpJack Winery, announced today that PlumpJack Winery's 1997 Reserve Cabernet, scheduled for September release, will be the first luxury wine to go to market with a screw cap closure. The release will comprise a total of 12 barrels, or approximately 300 cases, including 133 cases with screw caps, priced at $135 per bottle, and the remainder with traditional cork closures, priced at $125 per bottle. The PlumpJack Reserve Cabernet is in the luxury category, which includes such world-class Cabernets as Screaming Eagle, Harlan, Dalla Valle and Araujo, among others.

"This has been a long time coming, as anyone who follows the wine industry knows," said Gordon Getty. "The technology is in place, we believe the market is prepared, and all that remains is for someone to break the barrier of tradition."

With large segments of the wine industry firm in the belief that only natural cork is suitable for long term wine storage, the Gettys and Newsom aim to present the screw cap as a viable closure method for even the highest quality wines. This spirit of adventure is entirely consistent with the philosophy on which they built the PlumpJack brand.

Getty and Newsom founded San Francisco's popular PlumpJack wine store in 1992 on the principle of providing high quality products and helpful information in a friendly, non-intimidating manner with the goal of infusing the wine purchasing experience with a sense of fun and discovery.

The odds are very good that releasing PlumpJack Winery's hallmark luxury Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in screw cap bottles will generate controversy. But as Newsom stated at his appointment to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1997, "If I don't produce controversy, I'm not doing my job." Knowing that the wine industry may well balk at their initiative leaves Getty and Newsom unfazed. As Newsom is fond of pointing out, "Failure is only the precursor to success." He and Getty continue to take pride in their efforts to "out-innovate the competition."

The Gettys and Newsom are among many in the wine industry who have realized the need to look past traditional cork closures. According to a recent study conducted at the University of California at Davis, the chief problem of natural cork is the resulting appearance of 2, 4, 6-Trichloroanisol (TCA) in the wine. Even a miniscule amount of TCA creates the potent, musty character that affects an estimated two to seven percent of wine bottles, resulting in an annual loss to the worldwide wine industry of hundreds of millions of dollars. And the experience of watching little bits of cork bob in a wine glass is all too familiar.

"Although 'cork taint' is by no means an extensive problem, it is nonetheless one element of cork-related difficulties -- including environmental concerns -- that we are continuing to study," said Bill Getty. Getty noted that synthetic corks, though they have been on the market since the early 1990s, only account for two percent of the world market of 14 billion corks. It is generally accepted in the wine industry that the screw cap is more reliable, particularly for wines that are going to be consumed within two to three years.

The decision to release the '97 Cab with screw caps also received the endorsement of PlumpJack Winery's world-renowned winemaker Nils Venge, whose ongoing goal is to produce the finest Cabernet Sauvignon possible. A lifelong veteran of the wine trade and a legendary figure in California's wine valleys, Venge's expertise as a winemaker became known worldwide when Robert Parker Jr. gave his Groth Vineyards & Winery 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon a score of 100, making Venge the first American winemaker ever to receive such a distinction.

PlumpJack ventures include the PlumpJack Cafe, the PlumpJack Balboa Cafe, the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, the PlumpJack Winery, the PlumpJack Management Group, and the PlumpJack Development Fund. Their latest venture is the Web site PlumpJack.com, which takes the PlumpJack philosophy into the world of e-commerce. The popular Web site offers advice on wine selection, food and wine pairing, recipes from executive chef Keith Luce, and a wide selection of wines for sale, including those produced at the PlumpJack Winery. The small luxury winery, founded in 1995, is located in the Napa Valley hamlet of Oakville and is open to the public. PlumpJack Winery information is available at 707/945-1220.