If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, as an employee of Wilson Creek winery is that you will not find a surplus of corks floating around the Creek; Wilson Creek that is. Have you ever wondered what we do with all that popped cork?
On any given day bottles of wine and champagne are opened and shared among visiting guests looking for the ultimate tasting experience. Many of the wine corks are taken by the next future Mrs., to be transformed into a creative centerpiece for their wine country themed wedding reception. Wondering what else do we do with leftover corks, just ask Event Manager, Jeff Littrell. Every year in the spring, the wineries in Temecula Valley compete in a cork sculpture contest, during the “World of Wine” tasting event. And every year Jeff wows us with his cork masterpieces! This year he created a giant, cork wine glass that continuously pours red wine. Last year Jeff created the winning cork sculpture, a fierce lion coming out of the top of a wine barrel with paws and claws ready to pounce. The year before that he constructed the leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s amazing what you can do with a little cork, glue and imagination.
We’ve had our fair share of fun with the used corks but by far the most authentic idea was fashioned by the matriarch of the winery herself, Rosie Wilson. The story as Rosie tells it was in the summer of 2000 at the Balloon and Wine Festival, at Lake Skinner, in Temecula CA. It was the first year the Wilson family was able to share their newly vintage wine. The popped corks from these bottles had not yet served a purpose until the Wilson kids came across some yarn, had decided to make cork necklaces to give to anyone who tasted their wine that day. This gesture sparked conversation about their life changing decision to quit their day jobs, move to Temecula, make wine and the opening of their new winery. The guests were told that if they stopped by the winery wearing their cork necklaces they would get a free wine tasting.
To this day Rosie Wilson makes hundreds of cork necklaces for guests who are celebrating a special occasion. The next time you find yourself at the winery and are celebrating your birthday or anniversary, let the Wilson Creek staff and family help you celebrate. After all, Rosie Wilson thinks everyone deserves to get corked on their special day! -by Barb Hilde, Wine Club Mgr
The creator of our cork necklaces wearing a few on her birthday. Rosie still makes all of our cork necklaces by hand.