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400 Vintage Park Drive
Zebulon
NC, 27597
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Melanie Cressman

Dedicated to providing wine closures with the best possible wine preservation performance

Nomacorc closures were conceived as a solution to the inconsistencies and TCA contamination prevalent in natural and technical cork wine closures. Since the company's inception in 1999, Nomacorc wine closures have become the most widely used alternative wine closure in the world. With manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, South America and Asia, our team of 500 employees produce 2 billion wine closures each year. In 2014 we completed fifteen years of serving the international wine industry and produced our 20 billionth Nomacorc wine closure.

Our company is dedicated to providing wine closures with the best possible wine preservation performance, working hand-in-hand with our customers to find new and better ways to ensure that consumers experience each wine exactly as the winemaker intended. To attain this goal, we invest in research to improve understanding, measurement, and control of oxygen throughout the winemaking process and to fuel continued innovation in our products and services. We are committed to performance excellence and continuous improvement so that we remain a valued strategic partner to our customers around the world.

 

Nomacorc's Role in Evolution of the Wine Closure Industry


For hundreds of years, over 95% of the world's wines were kept in the bottle by a natural cork punched from a slice of cork oak tree bark. The industry and consumers alike accepted and even heralded the tradition associated with natural cork wine closures. But as with many traditions, at some point change becomes inevitable. In the wine closure industry, this happened in the late 1980's when the rising demand for wine around the world led cork producers to increase production and lower quality, resulting in a significant increase in the occurrence and awareness of wines tainted by TCA (2-4-6 trichloroanisole which gives wines a moldy smell and off-flavor). Much of these TCA problems were due to the growing use of technical corks, generally a much lower quality and lower price closure made of pieces of cork bark that are held together with various types of glues, adhesives, and manufacturing methods.

This market dynamic opened the door for the introduction of synthetic wine closures in the late 1990's. Not only were synthetics a solution to wine tainted by TCA, but they also provided a considerably lower cost option than good quality natural corks. In just 10 years, synthetic closures have gone from zero to 25% of the 17.5 billion wine closures used around the world each year. The company leading the synthetic tsunami was Nomacorc, the worldwide leader in bark-alternative wine closures. Today Nomacorc is recognized by the industry as the quality leader in synthetic closures primarily due to the outstanding consistency of the company's products which are created with a patented co-extrusion manufacturing process. Unlike injection molded and mono-extruded synthetic closures (often called plastic plugs), Nomacorc's portfolio of products provide superior and highly consistent wine preservation because they protect wine against over- exposure to oxygen (i.e. oxidation which changes the color and flavor of the wine) while maintaining the look and experience consumer's associate with natural cork. It is not surprising that today 30 of the 40 largest volume wine companies in the world use Nomacorc closures.

 

With the natural cork industry reeling from its market share decline, other types of non-bark wine closures mounted a charge. Screw caps, which have been used for decades on low price, large size wine jugs began appearing on higher quality 750 ml bottled wines. Despite their ease of use, screw caps suffer from a negative perception with a majority of consumers, and more importantly have been shown to potentially cause rotten egg and burnt rubber odors and off-flavors resulting from wine reduction (the development of sulfur compounds formed due to insufficient oxygen permeation through the cap).

As the wine closure industry continues to evolve, Nomacorc has further shown its innovative nature by creating an international research program in the area of oxygen management in wine. Partnering with the most renowned wine research institutes around the globe, Nomacorc led the design and funding of research that is providing new data and understanding about how oxygen impacts wine quality and preservation. The results of this research will improve the ability of winemakers to control and improve wine quality and consistency, and fuel Nomacorc's continued development of wine closures that meet the needs of the vast array of wine varietals and winemaking styles. The company's recent introduction of NomaSenseTM proprietary oxygen analyzer equipment, is more evidence of Nomacorc's continued commitment to strategic partnership with the international wine community.

Wine Closures by Nomacorc - Different Inside and Out


What makes Nomacorc PlantCorc wine closures a superior choice can be summed up in one word: consistency. Our patented co-extrusion manufacturing process creates alternative wine closures with a foamed core and an outer skin. These two elements work hand in hand to create predictable and consistent wine preservation performance.

The core of Nomacorc wine closures is breathable and allows optimum control of oxygen transfer through the closure. The outer flexible skin provides a precise and consistent seal, protecting the wine while providing the traditional appearance and opening ceremony associated with natural corks.

Advantages of Nomacorc Green Line wine closures

  • No cork taint or off-flavors associated with natural and technical corks
  • More consistent oxygen transfer rates than other closure types including natural cork, technical cork and screw caps
  • More consistent bottling line behavior than other closure types including natural cork, technical cork and screw caps
  • Natural cork look without breakage and crumbling
  • Smooth, easy extraction with traditional cork screws
  • Lower carbon footprint compared to that of to natural and technical cork with much lower water usage during manufacturing
  • Sustainably produced from materials derived from sugarcane and 100% recyclable
Download(s):

Nomacorc Reserva
Nomacorc Reserva
Best-in-class closure for luxury wines with extensive aging times up to 25 years
Nomacorc Select Green
Nomacorc Select Green
The world’s 1st zero carbon footprint closure for premium wines with aging requirements up to 15 years
Nomacorc Classic Green
Nomacorc Classic Green
The premium generation successor to our industry leading “Classic+” product for popular and premium wines
Nomacorc Smart Green
Nomacorc Smart Green
The successor to our “Smart+” product for entry level, cost-sensitive wines
Nomacorc ZEST!
Nomacorc ZEST!
High performance, zero carbon footprint closure for premium sparkling wines
Nomacorc - Did You Know?
Nomacorc - Did You Know?
This video showcases Nomacorc's cutting-edge wine closures and details what makes them different from natural cork. Learn about Nomacorc, its products and its initiatives around the globe.
NomaSense PolyScan B200
NomaSense PolyScan B200
The NomaSense PolyScan B200 is the first analyzer that lets you measure all of the oxidizable components of a wine, including in particular, polyphenols. These components play a key role in every stage of the winemaking process.
NomaSense Oxygen Analyzer
NomaSense Oxygen Analyzer
Nomacorc offers two great solutions to rapidly measure the total oxygen contents in wine. Each solution provides a direct and facile reading for the dissolved oxygen concentration in the wine and the amount of gaseous oxygen in e.g. the headspace of a bottle.
Nomacorc Select Series
Nomacorc Select Series
The Nomacorc Select Series is a collection of high-performance co-extruded wine closures designed to meet the needs of discriminating winemakers and the unique wines they create. From delicate white wines to robust reds; from the light and fruity to the complex and full-bodied, there is a Select Se

News Archive


Shelf Life: How to Forecast and Manage It
11 April, 2017


More or less, each of us has an idea about what “shelf life” means for a food product: It’s “the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale” (Wikipedia). Does this definition also apply to wine? After all, no wine label bears the words “best if consumed before…”—yet. Actually, though, shelf life is a notion that affects every kind of wine, from the fresh ones to the most aged ones because, as Vinventions researcher Stéphane Vidal says, it “is about having the right product at the right moment” and is apparently something of interest for all wine producers.

That’s why the Department of Biotechnologies at the University of Verona recently organized a conference about shelf life in the wine world, with the collaboration of Assoenologi (the Italian Association of Oenologists) and Nomacorc, the renowned leader for wine closures and now a member of Vinventions.

“Any wine has its own shelf life, so our starting point must be the features of the wine itself,” notes Vidal. “After that, we have to worry about the evolution we want the wine to have to get the best experience for the consumer: a constant pleasure in tasting.” With this, we can never forget that time is a crucial factor in the process, and has its own influence.

That said, how can you manage the shelf life?

shelf life“You have to be able to measure the oxygen in the wine, managing the reduction risks and, of course, your wine needs to have the proper amount of polyphenols,” states Vidal. Easy to say, a bit less to do. Each grape is, in fact, a “world apart” and its polyphenols, the main actors in the phenomena of reduction or oxidation that affect the “wine time,” are just one of the most important keys to this. If you can measure them in real-time, you’ll be able to control and predict the shelf life itself.

“Managing the shelf life means that when the final consumer uncorks that bottle, the wine won’t be oxidized or reduced,” says Christine Pascal, another researcher with Vinventions. “The wine will evolve, but without going into the two ‘risk groups’ of oxidation or reduction.” Again, a lot depends on the grape itself: We have to figure out how many precursors of oxidation or reduction our wine might have according to the grape variety. “Measuring these polyphenols will allow us to understand the duration of the shelf life,” she explains.

Doing that analysis takes time and is a complex and expensive issue; however, now, thanks to a new Vinventions technology (PolyScan from the Wine Quality Solutions group), it is becoming easier, and so is the management of polyphenols in real time.

At the same time, though, demonizing the oxygen would be a mistake, as Angelita Gambuti (University “Federico II” of Naples) explains: “There are very tannic red wines that need oxygen to improve. The issue is that the process goes on and on,” and the switch from improvement to oxidation becomes only a matter of time. There are several solutions to that problem, but the simplest one is also affordable for every cellar: choosing a closure with a controlled permeability. And speaking of that, what happens to a wine sealed with a screw cap? Its critics often complain about the “flavor of reduction” the wine might have; worried by this possibility, the oenologists often add a bit of copper (the authorized quantity is max. 1 mg/liter), before bottling, as a preventive measure. “Too bad that copper kills a lot of freshness flavors even before any reduction problem occurs,” adds Maurizio Ugliano, enology professor at the University of Verona. “Furthermore, in some cases it has been observed that the presence of copper increases the problems, rather than eliminate them.”

Conclusions? The wine producer who wants to predict the evolution of the wine has to worry about three things: the oxygen dissolved in the wine itself, that oxygen in the “bottle headspace” (i.e. the space that exists between the wine and the closure) and the permeability of the closure. Most of the time there is more oxygen in the headspace than dissolved in the wine—the same “variance of bottles” depends more on this element than on the quality of the closure.

The most important thing to remember is that, on average, the TPO (Total Package Oxygen, the total amount of oxygen present in a bottle), can compromise a few years of aging already starting from the first day of bottling. Moreover, selecting the most suitable closure for the expected shelf life will allow each wine to evolve in the way the winemaker intended.

 

by Elisabetta Tosi

This piece was first published on Vinix.com in Italian. 

 

Images courtesy of FreeImages.com/SamKreuzer and FreeImages.com/FedericoBelloli.


Know Your Components: Thiols, a Complicated Compound
08 March, 2017

Among the myriad components that make up wine, very few have entirely positive or negative roles to play. Take volatile thiols, for instance, a family of molecules also known as mercaptans that are sulfur-containing compounds—specifically, they all include a sulfhydryl group (-SH). Aromas associated with mercaptans are either reduction-like (burnt rubber, cabbage, flint, smoke) or fruity (grapefruit, passion fruit).

Thiols are found in many wines, though the compounds present may differ between them. For example, Sauvignon Blanc possesses 4-mercapto-4-methylpentan-2-one (4MMP), 3-mercaptohexan-1-ol (3MH), and 3-mercaptohexan-1-ol acetate (3MHA), which are the primary compounds that contribute to characteristic Sauvignon Blanc aromas. 4MMP is known to contribute box tree, passion fruit, and black currant aromas; 3MH contributes grapefruit, gooseberry, passion fruit, and guava aromas; and 3MHA contributes grapefruit, gooseberry, sweet passion fruit, box tree, and guava aromas.

The perception thresholds for these compounds vary, though all are considered to be relatively low. Specifically, these thresholds have been found to be 0.8ng/L, 60ng/L, and 4.2ng/L, for 4MMP, 3MH, and 3MHA, respectively.

While these compounds impart pleasant aromas in wines, others can be problematic. For instance, during fermentation, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can form and interact with benzaldehyde to produce methyl mercaptan, giving off less-than-desirable aromas like garlic, cabbage, and cooked vegetables. The threshold for methyl mercaptan is very low as well—0.02 parts per billion can be enough to make it detectable in water. Other compounds, like 2-methyl 3-furanethiol or benzenemethane thiol, can give smoky aromas that can have more variable effects, depending on concentration and interactions with other aromas.

Mechanisms

It isn’t completely understood how thiols form in wine, though there are some solid theories. These compounds aren’t present in grapes, or only in trace amounts. The winemaking process is what brings them out—fruity thiols have precursors in the grapes that are revealed through fermentation, while reductive/smoky mercaptans seem to form during the entire vinification process.

One possible mechanism relates to nitrogen availability during fermentation. Basically, yeasts need a good nitrogen supply to go through fermentation. If there is a good nitrogen supply, the yeasts should be happy and the finished wine should be pleasant. Reductive thiols can form and become problematic when the nitrogen source for the yeasts is limited. If there isn’t enough nitrogen, the yeasts will start to use the nitrogen tied up in the amino acid cysteine, which possesses a sulfur group. When the yeasts break down the cysteine for nitrogen, the sulfur group is released and can interact with other compounds in the wine, yielding H2S and the off-aromas associated with H2S buildup.

A new study found that even the yeast strain is important in determining thiol/mercaptan formation during fermentation. Other studies have shown that yeast strain can also affect the development of 3MH and 3MHA in wines, as the yeasts reveal the precursors to give fruity notes.

Another mechanism for the formation of reductive or smoky mercaptans is thought to occur during aging. In order for this formation to occur, it’s thought there may exist an odorless precursor or multiple precursors that react over time with other compounds in the wine under a reduced oxygen environment to form these undesirable mercaptans. Studies have shown that significant increases in methyl mercaptan can occur in bottled wine, especially with lower post-bottling oxygen exposure.

On the other hand, volatile thiols such as 3MH and 3MHA have been shown to decrease over time, particularly when exposed to more oxidative conditions. There are a couple ways that can happen. First, they can oxidize easily when exposed to oxygen and iron, and second, they can react with other compounds in the wine like o-quinones and phenolic compounds, resulting in the formation of non-volatile compounds that would effectively reduce the recognizable varietal character of that wine. It has also been shown that factors like oxygen exposure, copper, or glutathione additions can greatly affect the longer-term presence of thiols like 3MH in bottled wine.

Some have speculated that mercaptans may form via odorless complexes with metal cations. Specifically, winemakers will often use copper salts to remove mercaptans from wine. Some evidence supports the idea that it isn’t possible to remove all the mercaptans from the wine and there remains some copper-mercaptan complexes in the solution that react in the bottle over time to release the mercaptans into an odorous form.

Conclusions

While the mechanisms still remain relatively unknown, we know more about the production of mercaptans in wine than ever. Still, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and how to optimize mercaptans levels in wine. So what can you do as a winemaker? Monitoring nitrogen levels and/or selecting a yeast strain that is known to yield lower H2S (and the subsequent mercaptan products produced from reactions involving H2S in the fermenting and aging wine) should help reduce H2S formation and encourage the formation of fruity thiols. Finally, carefully controlling the level of oxygen exposure during aging can also help maintain a proper balance of varietal aromatic characteristics in the wine. Too little oxygen can set up an environment favorable to runaway mercaptan formation, while too much oxygen opens up a whole other can of worms. Choosing the appropriate closure for your wine can also help reduce the chances of developing off odors caused by certain mercaptans while maximizing the desired aromatic characteristics associated with other volatile thiols.

by Becca Yeamans-Irwin — Wine Science 

See Selected Sources here

 

 


Getting it on with your Phenolics: How to Optimize their Use and Make Better Wine
06 December, 2016

Sure, fruity aromas are nice and everything, but the experience of a wine is much more than that. A large part of it has to do with textural and visual aspects, as well, and that’s where phenolics play a major role in how wines express themselves and how they are enjoyed.

At a session on managing phenolics at the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS) in Brighton earlier this year, Professor James Kennedy of California State University at Fresno, pointed out that phenolics are essential in wine because of their impact on “the visual, aromatic, and tactile properties of wine.” The color of a red wine and the stability of that color, for instance, is entirely due to how phenolics come together during vinification, in particular as anthocyanins combine with tannins—or not. Texture and length on the palate is also largely due to phenolic components—in particular, the quantity of tannins present, as well as the length of their molecular chains.

As Kennedy pointed out, phenolics have effects on white wines as well, as they can be responsible for bitterness in the wines, as well as some aromatic elements, depending on whether the juice is oxidized early on, or kept protected from oxygen (approaches more commonly known as “brown juice” or “green juice”). The emergence of orange wines—wines produced from white grapes using skin maceration, in a way that is closer to red winemaking than usual white winemaking—also raises a whole set of reflections surrounding phenolics, as various techniques (short or long macerations, whole-bunch macerations, vinification in amphoras or barrels) create different and sometimes unexpected results.

Every Grape is Different

Pinot Noir grapesAs with many things in winemaking, there isn’t a single way of looking at phenolics or managing them. “You have to understand the variety,” added professor Kennedy, as a way of underscoring how phenolic content varies considerably from one grape variety to the next. For instance, Pinot Noir has less phenolic components than most red grape varieties, showing less color because of lower anthocyanin content and also a different tannic feel, because a higher proportion of tannins, overall, come from the seeds, rather than the skins. Cabernet Sauvignon would be at the other end of the spectrum, with lots of color and bigger tannins coming largely from the skins. Using the same length of maceration or the same pressing strategies would lead to very different results, depending on whether you’re using them on Grenache, Syrah, or Cinsault.

At the ICCWS session, Professor Anna Katherine Mansfield, associate professor of enology at Cornell University in New York, went one step further when she pointed out that tannins vary considerably depending on the family of grapes being used. 

 

Read the rest of the article here >>


New “Green Line” Wine Closure Portfolio
03 October, 2016

Reveals Strategy Towards 100% Sustainable Products

Global leader in wine closures unveils plans to introduce Green Line portfolio based on new PlantCorc™ innovation—

 

Nomacorc, a member of Vinventions™ and the world’s leading producer of premium wine closures, unveils a new category of closures with unparalleled standards in performance, design and sustainability. The new “Green Line” represents a fundamental shift towards the use of renewable plant-based raw materials for Nomacorc’s entire product portfolio, while also advancing performance and aesthetics. The Green Line comprises the flagship product Reserva, and includes Select Green, Classic Green and Smart Green as well as the sparkling closure Zest Premium.

An industry pioneer in oxygen management and innovation, the company began using sustainable raw materials in 2013 with the launch of Select® Bio, the world’s first zero-carbon-footprint closure, made with biopolymers derived from sugarcane. Today, Select Bio is used by some of North America’s most premium, critically-acclaimed wineries.

“The new Green Line continues our journey towards sustainability one important step further,” says Dr. Heino Freudenberg, CEO of Vinventions. “Our PlantCorc™ technology marries science and nature to offer our customers wine closures that are not only sustainable, TCA-free and glue-free, but also 100 percent consistent. This in turn allows us to offer our customers even lower oxygen ingress options and red wine preservation performance of up to 25 years.” Besides its nature-based raw materials, the Green Line is produced using renewable energy and is 100 percent recyclable.

Green LineIn addition to advancements in performance and sustainability, the Nomacorc Green Line also introduces an enhanced look and feel across closures—soft-feel surfaces, chamfered edges and embossed ends are now standard within the entire portfolio. These improved premium aesthetics were previously available only for Select Green (formerly Select Bio) and Zest Premium, the recently-launched zero-carbon-footprint sparkling wine closure.

Nomacorc has made further advancements in controlling oxygen ingress within the Green Line closures, thanks to its proprietary PlantCorc production technique. “With our closure offerings, winemakers can use our precise oxygen ingress range to allow for the best wine expression,” said Dr. Stéphane Vidal, Vice President of Enology and Head of Wine Quality Solutions for Vinventions. “We are proud to announce that our new Nomacorc Reserva™ closure will preserve wine in the bottle for up to 25 years for a unique consumer experience,” he adds.

The Green Line is now available for winemakers globally. The new Reserva closure will be coming soon, along with several other product innovations that will be announced by Vinventions next year.


Seriously, Who is Your Customer?
10 August, 2016

So, who’s your customer?

It’s complicated. Wine drinkers, sure. They’re the end-end customers, the people who love wine—and just might love your wine.

IMG_2611But a wine marketer’s customers are also distributors, wholesalers, retailers, on-premise buyers—the myriad players in the epic drama of the three-tier system.

That’s why consumer targeting isn’t enough. Wine brands also need business-to-business strategies to build reach and loyalty—techniques gleaned from experts both inside and outside of the wine industry.

At its tenth Exchange forum, held earlier last month at Bardessono in Yountville, Calif., Nomacorc gathered marketing and branding experts and a roomful of wine marketers. The agenda: a daylong discussion of tactics to identify, delight, and build loyalty—whether your customer is a single twenty-something or a twenty-restaurant chain. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE...


Merlots and Medals: Veteran Wine Judge Tim McDonald on the History and Impact of Wine Competitions
28 June, 2016

Lined up with gleaming stickers of gold, silver, and bronze slapped on their labels, award-winning wines stand at attention on shelves across the country like so many grape generals turned out for a military parade.

But does a Merlot with a medal taste better than one without? And, perhaps more importantly, does it sell better?

red row 2The relevance of wine competitions has been emphasized this year with a flurry of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of one of the biggest wine showdowns ever, the famous Judgment of Paris tasting where California vintages bested some big names in French wine—a huge score for the New World that established the Golden State’s credentials as a major player and sent sales soaring.

The 1976 tasting was a relatively casual affair arranged by Stephen Spurrier, an Englishman looking to muster attention for his Paris wine shop, and featuring only 20 wines. Today’s big competitions are big business, drawing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of entries and handing out equally substantial amounts of hardware.

Some say too much hardware. The notion of wine competitions (and the 100-points ratings scale popularized by pioneering critic Robert Parker) as a reliable measure of wine quality hasn’t gone unchallenged.

Among the criticisms are complaints that competitions have an incentive to reward wineries, who pay fees to enter—more than $1 million a year according to some estimates—and that judging can be inconsistent. Robert T. Hodgson, a retired professor with a background in statistics who is also a winemaker, has published research showing inconsistency in medal results—wines ranked gold in one contest got no medals of any color in others.

tim spittingTo help make sense of this, we went to an expert for some answers—wine industry veteran Tim McDonald.

McDonald knows competitions; he’s served as a wine judge at more than 200 wine and spirits competitions in North America and is currently director of wine judging at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and chief judge at the Central Coast Wine Competition. And he knows wine. Currently a partner at the media relations consultancy Wine Spoken Here his previous experience includes serving as marketing director of fine wine communications at E. & J. Gallo and director of trade relations at Trinchero Family Estates.

 


Let’s talk history. What do you think was the legacy of the Paris Tasting?

McDonald: The Paris Tasting, which is almost a half-century-old, made all of us aware of blind competitions and how a group of tasters can come up with sometimes surprising results. The legacy is that fair-and-square tastings are the standard now. The blind tasting reveals the best wine in the class or type.

Could something like that happen today?

Tim at The Best of Challenge 2013

McDonald: In today’s time a Paris-type tasting will not have the same impact mainly because the drinking public gets their wine recommendations from the clerk in their favorite shop whether a small wine store or a big operation like BevMo!. The vast majority of buyers pay attention to a myriad of things like scores or awards or accolades. And, there are so many places to get a score these days. Also at websites like wine.com and many others you can get aggregated scores and reviews.

How important do you think wine ratings/medals are to consumers today? 

McDonald: Ratings and reviews and scores still matter, perhaps even more today. We still have the Academy Awards, Olympics, The Grammys, The Derby, The World Series and the scoring system is not going away anytime soon. Younger wine drinkers ask their friends or the shopkeeper or look at POS in store shelves. And now that so many are buying wine online they pay attention to what that source says. The wholesale distributor relies more than ever for scores for the off trade to “sell in.” This is not as key in restaurants.

What does a major competition win mean for a producer?

McDonald: A win sells more wine if you communicate it to your fans and friends. I manage the judges at two competitions, the San Francisco event in June and the Central Coast Wine Classic. Every year there is a story about the brand that won Best Cabernet or Winery of the Year and the winery sells out of the winning pick or the traffic to the visitor’s center rises.

You’ve seen the Hodgson research maintaining that wine competitions are inherently subjective. What do you think about that?

McDonald: The evaluation or judging of wines is and always will be subjective. Some expert tasters like low oak and some don’t. Some like dark Pinot and some like lighter ones; some dislike higher alcohol and some don’t. Some judges love natural/organic/biodynamic/orange wines—some don’t care how the farming is practiced. What tastes great is what usually wins in a three- to five-person panel blind taste. I have judged hundreds of wine competitions and all of them are different with different judges, held at different times of the year and logically get different results. I believe it is the SUM of the PARTS—scores, gold medals, and solid reviews make a reputation for a particular wine. These wine competitions regardless of when and where they are held depend on the WHO part, as in who is judging and running the competition. For the most part they are all quite fair. But if I were a winery entering a particular competition or magazine submission the WHO part would be Number 1.

What do you think will be the next big thing in terms of how wines are evaluated and presented to consumers? 

 

McDonald: Frankly I would like to see aggregated wine reviews from important sources. For instance, a Double Gold in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, 90 points in Wine Spectator and seen in Sunset Magazine as one of the “Top Eight Chardonnays for Summer.” Buzz is created from multiple recommendations and if you are making great wine this should happen over and over till you move on to the next vintage.

June 28, 2016 — by Michelle Locke

Why is Wine Marketing so Stale? An Open Letter to the Industry at Large
31 May, 2016

photo-1452796907770-ad6cd374b12d

The other day, I had an interview with an Italian wine magazine where I shared some of my experiences as both a wine marketer and a winery owner. The journalist’s questions got me thinking about the deep confusion around the term “marketing.”

Too often, I see the term marketing being confused with sales and I see marketing tactics confused with marketing strategy. It begs the question, what is “marketing,” and how can it be employed successfully?


The Evolution of Marketing

First, let’s look at the basics and how marketing has evolved. Marketing has progressed based on global, political, social, and cultural events. Philip Kotler’s book, Marketing 3.0, perfectly simplifies this evolution:

Marketing 1.0: Back in the ’50s and ’60s marketing was tactical. It was focused on product management because it had to support industrial growth. In this phase, the concepts of “marketing mix” and the “4 Ps” were born. Marketing served to support production functions. Marketing meant developing a product, with a proper price, with an adequate promotion, and distributed in the right places.

Marketing 2.0: Fast-forward to the next 20 years and marketing evolved from a product-focused discipline to a client-centered management procedure. The oil crisis redefined global market powers and the slower product demand during uncertain times led to the need for something more than the 4Ps. To stimulate demand, marketing had to shift from being a purely tactical function to a strategic discipline. Marketing activities focused on creating consumer needs with specific product positioning to the targeted consumer.

Marketing 3.0: The next developmental stage came with the internet. Consumers became connected and the decision-making power shifted to their fingertips as they started to make up their own minds about products, services, and companies. This connectedness characterizes the new era of marketing. To create demand, it is no longer enough to access the minds of consumers; there is a need to access their hearts too.

Concepts like emotional marketing, experiential marketing, and brand equity were created to adapt marketing to this new connected consumer. This adjustment meant moving from client-centered marketing to brand-centered marketing. In a current era characterized by recession and loss of trust, the objective of brand management is to establish a trusted bond with consumers through identity, integrity, and authentic image.

This graph accurately shows the evolution of marketing:

Kotler Marketing

Source: Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit by P. Kotler, H. Kartajaya, and I. Setiawan

According to Kotler, author of over 50 marketing books, consultant, and distinguished professor, “Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures, and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”

From my experience in marketing fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, I can attest that without strategic marketing, companies cannot succeed. In organizations that understand the value of marketing, no product or service is ever made without an evidence-based marketing plan in place.

On the contrary, many in the wine industry consider marketing unnecessary. In most cases, marketing is a misused term, and in the wine industry, as in many others, this misuse has created a confused idea about what it truly entails.

In response, I want to offer a few points to clarify these distorted beliefs, which I hope will help shed light on the importance of true marketing within our industry:


Tactics are NOT Strategy

A strategy is a plan to reach specific business objectives and tactics are the means used to reach these goals. Strategy is planning, is the “why,” is hard to copy, and is long-term. Tactic, on the other hand, is doing, is the “how,” is easy to copy, and is short-term.

Social media, trade shows, and events are all tactics. What you communicate on your labels or website is a tactic. These are all things brands use to reach their objectives. A strategy includes planning with quantitative and qualitative research data, with quantifiable sales and profit projections, and with a plan to follow up and maintain market demand.

Tactics are part of the strategy. If a brand uses only tactics without strategy, it will end-up acting on short-term plans without real sight of the long-term future.


Marketing is NOT Sales

Walk into most large companies and you will see that marketing and sales departments are separate. When I was a brand manager at Danone, I experienced what that relationship between marketing and sales departments is like. One of my most challenging experiences was presenting a three-year marketing plan of the main yogurt brand to the national sales team composed of 300 hard-to-convince men and women. Standing alone as a marketing manager in front a merciless sales team is difficult because these are the people who execute what marketing people plan. They have to go out in the market every day and experience first-hand market resistance or success.

However, before the sale of any product, the long and extensive marketing work often goes unseen. Marketing involves thoroughly investigating the market itself, researching consumers, and identifying unmet needs and desires before developing and selling a product.

Marketing is there before a product is made and is there long after it is sold. Marketing also decides when a product should be withdrawn from the market based on its performance.


Opinions vs. Evidence-based Decisions

Strategic marketing starts with the search for evidence of a market opportunity for a product or service. The wine industry tends to make most of its strategic decisions based on opinions and the past. In the Old World, the mentality that “it’s always been like this” is deeply rooted in business decisions. Anything that is different from the well-established and well-known route is marginalized, even if it is based on clear evidence. Somehow, opinions, experiences, and authoritative influences have more weight in decision making than data and market evidence.

While there are many research results out there (and are either free or affordable), very few wine companies actually know how to interpret insights and integrate them into the decision-making process. There is an abundance of information for a non-receptive audience who very often finds it easier to rely on opinions than evidence. Which brings me to my next point…


Professional Qualifications

There is no sugarcoated way of saying this, but the wine industry lacks a diversity of high professional standards. In other industries, to be considered a thought leader or authority, one needs to obtain certain credentials or accomplish certain milestones. In the wine industry it seems that the louder the voice you have, the more influence you have.

There is so much pressure from the wine trade to pursue the WSET diploma for vocational training and knowledge, but the industry does not require the same standards for marketing wine. Why is it acceptable to have self-proclaimed, opinionated marketing individuals influence decision-making?

I do not ask this question to offend, but rather, to encourage the industry to truly think about the marketing strategies we employ. While everyone is entitled to have an opinion about how wine should be marketed, or about what consumers want and need, very few are really skilled to understand and apply evidence-based strategic marketing. I believe that there should be higher professional standards to be a marketer of value.


Final Thoughts

Looking back at the evolution of marketing as a discipline, it is clear that wine marketing is still in its first stage of evolution. In many cases, it only defines the 4Ps and supports production.

Different markets behave differently; some are business-oriented and marketing serves to generate profit, while others are stuck at the notion that it is solely a cost and there is no need for it. Between these two extremes, there is a gap, and it’s called the consumer.

The entire marketing 2.0 and 3.0 phases, as defined by Kotler, are yet to become mainstream. Generally, marketing in the wine industry is still not consumer-focused, and as a result, it finds itself in a fast-moving, short-termed tactical world without well-defined objectives and strategies.

The real threat is not only the stagnant evolution of wine marketing, but also the competitive landscape in which wine exists. As expressed in an earlier piece, wine marketers need to understand that they are battling for a limited consumer stomach-share. Brands are not competing only within their own categories, but across all alcoholic beverage categories. Understanding consumption moments, occasions, and moods are essential for successfully marketing brands. Simply developing a product, with a proper price, with an adequate promotion to be distributed in the right places is not enough to secure an economically sustainable growth.

I believe it’s time the industry embraced marketing in a professional manner and understood the importance of a long-term vision. Wine needs to grow up fast; otherwise it will find itself even less prepared for the next evolution.

Photo credit: Unsplash.

by Reka Haros

 


Millennials, Mindsets & Money: Increasing Online Sales by Wineries
03 May, 2016

Across industries from banking to beer, sales and marketing departments are grappling with the Millennial generation—how to reach them and sell to them. As for wine, Millennials now outnumber Boomers, drink nearly as much as Boomers, and are expected to surpass Boomer consumption in a few years. Millennials will shape the market for years to come. Online sales is an important avenue to reach this new generation of wine consumers. Our research, sponsored by Nomacorc, specifically aimed to tackle the critical business issue of helping wineries build their online wine sales among Millennials.

Executives from over two dozen wineries pointed out how critical the need is for nearly every winery to build up the online sales portion of their revenue mix. Distribution challenges make it hard for wineries to sell at retail or in restaurants, and community opposition to wine tourism threatens the direct-to-consumer tasting room, club, and event sales many wineries depend upon. They look to the emerging online sales channel to help them deal with these pressing business realities, increase their sales, and hold on to more profit margin in order to bolster their near-term financial condition and assure their long-term viability.

This post outlines our research goals, key findings, and strategy suggestions for wineries that seek to increase their online wine sales today. More finely detailed results, discussion, and strategies will be available in a soon-to-be released book that Nomacorc will make available later this summer.

Research Goals

Our research set out to accomplish three things that will help wineries create marketing strategies for their online wine sales:

  • People differ in their approach to buying wine online. Our first task identified the various mindsets people hold towards buying wine online from wineries.
  • People respond to marketing messages differently. One person can be turned on by an idea, another appalled. The second task set out to discover the marketing messages that have the highest “pulling power” within each mindset—the ones that most strongly interest a person in buying.
  • Buying any product has an emotional component. Our third task was to identify the emotional satisfaction online wine buyers seek from a purchase.

Achieving these goals enabled us to uncover the “why” underlying online wine buying, not simply the “what” that so many studies report. Armed with the knowledge of the marketing messages that work and for whom, wineries are now in a position to select and communicate those messages that are most likely to contribute to sales.

Five Key Findings

Our research identified five high-level findings:

1. A market exists today for online wine sales by wineries.  About 50 percent of Millennials in our study would make a purchase within the next six months. There was no difference in intent between Younger Millennials (21-26) and Older Millennials (27-34).

2. There is no single type of Millennial online wine buyer. Millennials fall into one of three unique mindset segments towards buying wine online from a winery. Each requires its own messaging strategy directed by the research. For each segment, we give it a brief description and recommend a messaging strategy based on the marketing messages that substantially raise interest in buying wine online, along with an expectation for each segment’s profitability.

  • Segment 1: Discerning, buys into the winery and wine (20 percent of sample). People in this segment are pursuing wine.
    Messaging strategy: Appeal to their interest in distinctive, artisanal, handcrafted wines. Lower their purchase risk by giving them confidence in the wine they are buying—provide detailed descriptions and tasting notes, and highlight those bottles that have garnered high community ratings. It’s not the wine alone; wineries should emphasize their compelling back-stories and show how they conduct operations with uncompromising integrity. Downplay rewards and discounts as these do not drive Segment 1 people’s interest in buying wine online. This group will pay the most for a bottle.
    Profitability Expectation: Highest among the three groups because this segment will spend the most for wine that interests them, and they are less deal-oriented. We consider this a “luxury” strategy.
  • Segment 2: Quality wine at a great price (20 percent of sample). This group is most interested in a fantastic deal on a great wine.
    Messaging strategy: In contrast to Segment 1, tout discounted or free shipping, quantity discount availability, and specials and promotions. Like Segment 1, they want quality wine from right-minded wineries. But these are table stakes for them—they wouldn’t consider buying if the wine did not seriously interest them. For Segment 2, the deal matters most. This group will pay less than Segment 1 for a bottle.
    Profitability Expectation: This group will pay less than Segment 1 for bottles that interest them. Wineries marketing to this group will likely have to give up some margin in order to satisfy this group’s need for lower prices. We consider this a “value” strategy.
  • Segment 3: On the cusp (60 percent of sample). This, the largest group, is uncertain about buying wine online from a winery.
    Messaging Strategy: None of the ideas crossed our threshold for high “pulling power.” Several ideas bubbled below the threshold that may be worthwhile to employ as background assurances. These concerned pricing, reducing purchase risk, and enjoying their wine with friends and family. This group will pay the least for a bottle.
    Profitability Expectation: This group will pay the least for a bottle. Individuals in this group are not yet as interested in buying wine online from wineries as the first two segments. For most wineries, Segment 3 would be a secondary consideration today. We expect people in this group to offer less action while being the most costly to acquire in the near term, but they represent potential over time. We consider this an ‘investment” strategy with returns mostly in the future.

3. Each segment reflects a different potential for sales and needs its own person-centered strategy for effective online wine marketing.
Marketing effectively to each segment means that wineries should have a way of identifying visitors and assigning each one of them to a segment, and then tailoring visitors’ onsite experience with the marketing messages that work best for their segment. We developed an app that assigns people to a segment—it takes under a minute, so that wineries can know very quickly which visitors belong to each segment. The app can be incorporated into a web or mobile page, email form, etc., so that it is easily and seamlessly accessible to visitors. You can try the app out here.

Segment 1 and Segment 2 represent near-term opportunity—they account for 40 percent of Millennials, and should be the most productive for wineries selling wine online. Segment 3, although larger, appears to offer less potential today and would most likely be considered a secondary target for most wineries selling online.

Wineries marketing online to Millennials should create unique strategies for each mindset segment that are developed in line with their winery’s business goals, business model, values, practices, offerings, services, and experiences.

4. Millennials seek specific emotional satisfactions from online wine buying. These are the same no matter which mindset segment a Millennial belongs to.

For many people, online wine buying is a risky business. That risk can be a turnoff if not addressed, leading to abandoned shopping carts and lost sales. Combined with the mindset messaging strategies that wineries create, including ways to satisfy the emotions that come into play can help visitors overcome resistance to buying while helping them feel great about their purchases.

Going in, we had expected that different mindset segments would express different emotional needs. Instead we found that the emotional satisfactions sought were universal: they applied to every segment. We uncovered three emotional drivers:

  • Online wine buyers do not want to feel insecure—they want to feel that they are buying the right wine and feel a sense of accomplishment about purchasing it.
  • They do not want to feel disempowered—they want to feel that that they are getting what they want.
  • Nor do they want to feel disengaged—they want to look forward to drinking what they’re buying and to feel that they will enjoy it with others.

5. Millennials are not unique. The mindset segments apply to all generations.
We also studied Boomers and Xers so that we could compare and contrast them to Millennials. We found that the older generations fall into the mindset segments in nearly the same percentages as Millennials. Emotional satisfactions showed the same patterns. The upshot is that marketing strategies based on the segments and emotions can be consistent across generations—helpful to creating a total market strategy that is crucial for brand growth—but specifics like imagery, sounds, and language should be tailored to each generation to ensure relevance.

Wrapping Up

Some of what we’ve written might be familiar to you. In talking with various wineries about our results, we learned that many wineries have some of the ideas about segments and use some of the marketing messages. What our research gave them, they said, was a sensible, easy-to-apply framework that sharpened the winery’s understanding of its customers’ thoughts and emotions, equipping them to increase sales by offering a more compelling site and online buying experience for each visitor.

As mentioned, Nomacorc will be distributing a book and e-book with more detail. We are happy to speak with you about the findings and recommendations and how they can apply to you and be implemented by you.

Please feel free to contact us through Jeff Slater of Nomacorc, or directly by email.

Photo credit to: OnePageReview and Snooth.

 

By Dr. Howard R. Moskowitz

Dr. Howard R. Moskowitz created the science of mind genomics, a way to understand the different mindsets people have towards any product, service, or experience, and to use that understanding for segmenting consumer interest, discovering the features that people most desire, and for identifying the messages that work to create sales. Prego’s chunky tomato sauce, the Goodyear AquaTread tire, the first Braun electric toothbrush, Vlasic’s Zesty Pickles, Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, are just a few of the breakthrough brands created with the mind genomics method that have created billions of dollars in sales. Howard, the author of more than 20 books and 400 peer-reviewed articles, was awarded his Ph.D. from Harvard University.


Why Green Certify? Marketing Versus Sustainability
20 April, 2016

By Taylor Eason

It’s no secret that wineries spend umpteen dollars maintaining their vineyards, proudly pruning and preening their way to a better quality grape. In theory, official certifications put these efforts on a pedestal to gain authority and legitimacy in the eyes of the wine world. But does anyone care besides the wineries themselves? If, according to the2015 Survey of American Wine Consumer Preferences, conducted by Sonoma State University and the Wine Business Institute, only 18 percent of the respondents indicated that organic, sustainable, or biodynamic wines influence their decision to purchase a wine, why get certified in the first place? The answer lies somewhere in the heart, not the wallet.

What doesn’t make sense from this recent survey is that consumers recycle, buy organic food, and extol the virtues of solar power. But buy organic-labeled wine, they historically have not. Countless wineries tend their vines organically, biodynamically or sustainably, but two-thirds of California wineries that adopt eco-certification do not mention their involvement on their labels.Meanwhile, in the grocery store, organically-labeled food sales have grown double digits every year since 19972.. So why is wine being left behind? Perhaps consumers assume that all wineries grow sustainably because the land would become fallow otherwise. Nonsensical as that is for those in the know, our industry needs to realize green messaging is fast becoming a relevant wine marketing angle on all sales fronts.

My colleague, Reka Haros, wrote in a recent Nomacorc post that the now-dominant millennials are “environmentally and socially aware idealistic people who give importance to value-driven brands.” So if wineries aren’t currently using the certifications to market to consumers, why are they doing it? In 2014, a survey conducted by UCLA to owners and managers of California wineries provided their top motivation for adopting sustainable certification practices. The list included providing a clean environment for future generations, improved quality of grapes/wines, long-term viability of business, maintaining soil quality, and growing consumer demand. Consumer demand arrived last on the list.

Green Wineries

So I went to the source, asking three wineries to weigh in on why they spent time and money to gain green certification.

Sustainable since the beginning, Honig Vineyards in Napa Valley is no green bandwagon-er. Their brand story has historically relied on green messaging even though they’ve never heralded it on their labels. In fact, when I interviewed Michael Honig, his certifications weren’t even on their website (they are now). Honig has achieved the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) certification as well as Napa Green’s land and winery certification, a third party program founded in 2008. But Honig says he didn’t do it for marketing: “We did it for ourselves… we want to save the world and can’t save the world until we save our 70 acres.” He added, “A third party certification process is necessary since it lends more credibility. There’s a lot of suspicion for wineries who say they’re ‘green’ or ‘natural,’ but behind the curtain that may not be factual. Having someone unbiased judge your actions is very beneficial.“

Jon Ruel, CEO for Trefethen Vineyards also in Napa, has been certified in Napa Greensince almost the program’s inception. He explains their participation in this way: “For us, sustainability is core to how we run our business. Our land has been in farming since the 1800s and we want to continue farming for generations to come. Programs such as Napa Green and CSWA are helpful in providing growers and wineries like us with useful guidance and affirmation that we are on the right track.” On the marketing side of things, Ruel stated, “The idea that these certifications can serve for wine marketing is secondary. We want people to buy our wine because it is delicious and authentic. We farm sustainably so that we can keep making delicious wine for years to come. That said, there are some consumers and wine buyers in the trade that are looking for bottles that not only taste great, but feel great.”

Trefethen doesn’t list their certifications on their website or their labels, except in non-consumer, trade materials.

Sustainability for the Environment

With the growing concern for environmental concerns, feeling great is what many Americans seek these days. Some wine organizations are responding. In January 2014, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced their commitment to becoming the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region through a three-phased program to be completed by 2019. A survey they conducted revealed that 60 percent of respondents agreed that the quality of the wine mostly depends on the quality of the vineyard. And 38 percent stated that supporting sustainable agriculture is important to them.

The Sustainability Stigma

So is there is unspoken stigma surrounding organic that wineries are trying to avoid? Michael Honig admitted that there’s “a little bit of a political issue” surrounding sustainable or organic labeling and believes they shouldn’t broadcast it. Years ago, similar to the Kosher or boxed wine segment, perhaps wine consumers tried an organic wine and ran for the hills, never to return. Getting those consumers back into even the sustainable fold might be a challenge.

But one winery challenges this perceived stigma. Bonterra Organic Vineyards has been organically certified since 1993, and they’ve always touted their organic status on the label. Their Nielsen survey data indicates that 53 percent of consumers are likely to buy wine with organic credentials–-with 65 percent of those being millennials. As the number one wine in the organic category, their wine sales are up over 19 percent in the past year, backing up the Nielson data.

A Google search of “green certified wineries” reveals the following brands touting their sustainability certifications: Chateau Montelena, Hess Collection, CADE Winery, and Rodney Strong Vineyards. The other results are from the certification organizations themselves. So it appears the disconnect lies somewhere between the wineries’ marketing outreach and the consumers. It costs 10-15 percent more to farm a vineyard organically or sustainably—it’s more labor intensive (especially biodynamic agriculture) because it requires so much more attention to detail. But that begs the question… why aren’t more wineries announcing their efforts in a more direct manner? Whether LIVE certifiedLodi Rules, or anything else, naked harvesting by the light of the waning moon and pesticide-free farming could be the answer to more wine sales, if they’d let it.

1= http://www.wine-economics.org/aawe/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/AAWE_WP190.pdf

2= http://ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/StateOfOrganicIndustry_0.pdf

Photo credit to: sheep and wine (DiscoverCalifornia.com); SCWA badge (Sustainablewinegrowing.org), Napa Green (napavalleyregister.com), organic winery (Liveleft.com), Organic vineyard with goats (tambourlaine.net), and owl box (sonomawinegrape.org).


Natural, Organic, Biodynamic, Sustainable: The Rise of Virtuous Wines
07 April, 2016


NaturalWine_Goode_Header

Back when I started writing about wine, some 15 years ago, biodynamic and organic wine was pretty rare. In 2002, I compiled a list of biodynamic vineyards for an article, and it was a short one. At this stage, there was no such thing as certified sustainable wine. And natural wine was a tiny, almost silent presence in the wine landscape. How things have changed!


The Rise of “Virtuous” Wine

The rise of virtuous wines—those made from vineyards that have been managed sustainably, and/or handled minimally in the winery—has been quite a remarkable one. But there has been a degree of separation between what happens in the vineyards and what goes on in the winery. So, theoretically, you could have a natural wine that is made from conventionally farmed grapes. It’s not common, but it does happen. And you can have beautifully grown biodynamic grapes subjected to a fairly brutal winemaking regime—as Jason Lett of Eyrie Vineyards in Oregon puts it so well, “some people are fairies in the vineyards and orcs in the cellars.”

And then there’s sustainability. While organics and biodynamics are a relatively small but growing niche, certified sustainable programs have been unrolled across large segments of the industry. For example, in New Zealand, the vast majority of the country’s vineyards are part of the NZ certified sustainable winegrowing scheme. This is an amazing achievement, and has resulted in a large reduction of chemical inputs to vineyards. While no other country has managed to get as much industry buy-in as New Zealand, there are other countries that have implemented official certification systems, such as South Africa, Chile, and Australia. The challenge for certified sustainable certifications is to have a system that is rigorous enough that it makes a real difference (and makes viticulture truly sustainable), without having such onerous and expensive requirements that it puts off winegrowers. Getting the balance right is difficult.


Organic, Biodynamic, and Natural

logo-biodyvinOrganics and biodynamics are quite closely related, in that biodynamic vineyards will meet the requirements of organic certification, but will also have some additional criteria that need satisfying. Many certification bodies exist for organics; for biodynamics there are two wine bodies offering this certification: Demeter (the main one) and Biodyvin. Certification can be expensive, so some winegrowers opt to implement biodynamic practices without becoming officially certified. Unlike the situation for food, there seems to be no premium attached to organic of biodynamic wine. Perhaps this is because many people assume that wine is a natural product and that vineyards are farmed in step with the environment. Biodynamics used to be seen as being a weird, fringe form of viticulture, but it now has so many celebrity estates employing it that it’s more-or-less respectable, even though some of its practices are a little unusual from a scientific perspective.

So what of natural wine? There is no definition yet for this growing category. This is a source of annoyance to many in the wine world: after all, by co-opting the term natural, the club of winegrowers who choose to align themselves under this banner are implying that there’s something unnatural about conventional wine. The difficulty of the position is further entrenched by the fact that many of the world’s leading wines would be classified as natural by any sensible definition of the word. This does seem to be a confusing situation. But despite this, and the frequent predictions that natural wine would be just a passing fad, it seems to have real traction. Natural wine fairs are flourishing, and from my experiences in the UK and Australia, they seem to attract large numbers of consumers, many of whom are in the age bracket (20s and 30s) that the traditional wine business is finding hard to connect with. For no other reason, this is a movement to be reckoned with.


Defining Natural Wine

 How can natural wine be defined? There’s a loose definition that’s far from unofficial, and it goes like this. First, it’s ideal if the grapes are organically or biodynamically farmed, although as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t always the case. Natural wine is more about what takes place in the winery. The general definition is to add as little as possible, and preferably nothing at all. No enzymes or nutrients or acid should be added. The only really permissible addition is a bit of sulfur dioxide, and if it’s added, it’s in small quantities just before bottling. Fermentations should be with the native yeasts, and malolactic, if it occurs, with naturally occurring bacteria. There should be no fining or filtration.

visiting_the_Raw_fair
Sulfur dioxide seems to be a sticking point. The natural wine community has become a little obsessed with it. This preservative and defense against oxidation is produced naturally by yeasts during fermentation, and sometimes at levels that exceed 10 milligrams a liter, at which point the wine needs to be labeled “contains sulfites.” Certainly, wines made with no added sulfites can be really elegant and delicious, but some natural wine growers, untrusting of the conditions encountered in shipping their wines, add a bit at bottling. The late Beaujolais producer Marcel Lapierre used to do two separate bottlings: one with no sulfur dioxide added at all, and one with some at bottling to make the wine more stable for export. This tradition has been carried on by his children who now run the estate. Natural wine fairs such as RAW (London and Berlin) andRootstock (Sydney) now have the total sulfur dioxide level of each wine displayed in their catalogue. While this makes it clear to consumers which winegrowers are adding some, it also implies that lower levels of sulfur dioxide are better, which isn’t always the case. This fixation on sulfur dioxide can take away from giving proper attention to important issues such as how the grapes are farmed, which should be emphasized more in the natural wine movement.

Natural wine is thriving, but it can be a bit process-focused (do, or don’t do this, and your wine will be good), and it is quite exclusive (are you part of the club?). And even though it’s continuing to gain recruits, there are signs that we are now moving towards a post-natural wine era. Techniques used by natural winegrowers are being adopted by those who wouldn’t classify themselves as “natural,” and while wine lists would have previously been easy to divide into natural and conventional, there’s now more of a mixing. The boundaries between natural and conventional are beginning to seem a little blurred. This is a good thing: The occasionally extreme natural wine movement has had a positive impact on the rest of the wine industry and has prompted others to question what they are doing. A category of more authentic wines has emerged, made by those who are working more naturally, but who look at natural methods as a way to achieve an end—more authentic wines that better display their origin—than naturalness as an end in itself.

Photo credit: VinfolioRAW Fair, and Biodyvin.

by Jamie Goode  Trends


Raising the Bar: Truth in Wine Marketing
28 March, 2016

“It’s the oldest story ever told. The story of belief—of the basic, irresistible, universal human need to believe in something that gives life meaning, something that reaffirms our view of ourselves, the world, and our place in it.” ~Maria Konnikova, The Confidence Game

Honesty is not only the best policy, it’s a proven business tool. Skillfully wielded, truthful brand communication forges trust that keeps customers coming back for more. Mishandled, that same tool can cause irreversible damage. So how can wineries refine their stories to be more truthful?

Scandal recently broke around Mast Brothers, which touted itself as pioneers of small-batch, “bean to bar” chocolate. Customers shelled out $10 per bar on the false premise that they were buying a handmade product. In fact, the Brooklyn-based company had cast many of its chocolate bars from melted Valrhona.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, drew hordes of fans based largely on its promise of efficient engine performance. Yet in 2015, the EPA found Volkswagen intentionally cheating on emissions tests. “We have totally screwed up,” admitted Michael Horn, chief executive. No confession from an executive could temper the devastating financial consequences, not to mention the loss of consumer trust.

Is there a Mast Brothers or a Volkswagen of the wine world? We can’t say. We can say that consumers and industry members alike are paying attention, and are ready to hold companies accountable for their claims. Any winery message, then, must be consciously crafted with caution—and, of course, with truth.

What is the truth, anyway?

Transparency_New_GreenTo begin, let’s acknowledge that there is such a thing as being too honest. Whether as people or as companies, we select the most relevant details of any story to share with others. This article advocating for transparency, published by Poynter Institute, reminds us, “Only a fool would suggest that inner workings of any organization would ever be fully transparent. Yet, it’s heartening to see people being driven toward openness.”


What does it mean to tell the truth? The full truth entails more than simply avoiding lies:

Transparency: clearly communicating product and process.

Authenticity: delivering on promises.

Wineries have ample opportunity to be both transparent and authentic. A simple and powerful way to refine the truth of a brand’s story is simply by examining word choice—in print, online, and in speech.

Which words in particular deserve a closer look?

The “Winemaker” Interpreted

Unlikely as it may seem that a word as fundamental as “winemaker” could be fraught with confusion, somehow, it is. The winemaker is integral to any winery’s story, so making this term ring true could be considered a top priority.

At many wineries, the winemaker is exactly who you’d expect them to be—that person toiling away in the cellar with purple-stained hands, who may later pour you a glass with authority and enthusiasm. At other wineries, the “winemaker” is a more of a figurehead position, someone who writes checks and buys fruit, but never touches a barrel. This person claims the title of winemaker because, well, it’s their winery. (This might include celebrity winemakers.) Meanwhile, a quietly dedicated team member or consultant makes the wine without being publicly credited.

Does a title matter? If you want a straight story, then it probably does. The point here is not to place value judgment on any particular model—it is to be clear with the audience. When customers walk into a winery and ask who crafted the beverage they’re sipping, they deserve to know. (Chances are, it is not Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.)

While industry insiders know the title “winemaker” means different things in different companies, consumers are not savvy to this reality. Perhaps wineries owe their audience a clearer understanding of who controls their winemaking process. Increasing transparency can surely only make the company’s story more compelling.

Fruit Source

Great wine starts in the vineyard, it’s commonly claimed. Sure, but where is the vineyard, and how is it tended, and does the winemaker ever really spend any time there? When we talk about a fruit source, it’s vital that we speak transparently and authentically.

Let’s look at the term “Estate.” According to the TTB, wine that is “Estate-Bottled” must be 100 percent produced on property owned by the winery. Increasingly, though, wineries lease property that allows them to use the term “Estate-Bottled” without having significant connection to the land (or even having visited the property). In his book New California Wine, Jon Bonne devoted an entire chapter to “The Myth of the Estate.”

For those wineries that are site-based and fully dedicated to their estate property, the decimation of this term is disheartening. Peay Vineyards, which makes their home on the remote Sonoma Coast, recently penned an essay on the matter. Andy Peay writes:

There must be something about living on the vineyard throughout the year, daily walking the vineyard at all stages of growth, and making wine from the same vineyard across many varying vintages, that enables the estate winemaker to best capture the ineffable, yet distinct, voice of the vineyard. I think it has something to do with the estate winemaker’s slow accretion of knowledge about the unique quality of grapes grown at their site.

Also relevant to the fruit source is the equally tossed-around term “terroir.” Critics may eschew it for having little basis, while vintners like Peay and other leagues of passionate oenophiles defend it. Andy Peay continues,

Despite an inability to scientifically explain why a wine tastes the way it does based on its terroir… we all know terroir exists from our empirical experience. 

Whatever your stance on these particular words, it’s true that, by using them vaguely, we undermine their value. By using them responsibly, we honor their intended meaning, as well as our colleagues who uphold their true spirit.

 

The Dirty Work of Greenwashing

In the wine business, the opportunities for greenwashing—over-hyping a product’s environmental friendliness—is immense. From the vineyard to the cellar to the bottle and label, innumerable opportunities exist for a winery to either negatively or positively impact the environment. Some of these can be framed in a favorable way, when it comes time to market the wines.

Three commonly used (and abused) terms in winemaking are:

  • Biodynamic
  • Sustainable
  • Organic

A company using these terms can do so somewhat freely, with little oversight. Yet to earn the coveted “Certified Sustainable” or “Certified Organic” stamp of approval, issued only by accredited organizations, requires greater effort.

In Sonoma County, California, this is a hot topic on vintners’ minds. Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Winegrape Commission have partnered to create a three-phase program that will make Sonoma County the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region. On the organization’s website, they have vowed to protect against false environmental claims:

To ensure against “greenwashing,” third-party verification and certification programs will be used such as the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s Code of Sustainability that involves 15 chapters and over 200 best practice assessments for growers and wineries, focused on environmental, social and economic viability and continuous improvement with verification by a third-party certifier.

Another critically-important factor to this initiative is transparency, which will be accomplished through regular progress updates, an annual Sonoma County Wine Region Sustainability Report Card and a vineyard and winery real-time tracker on the SCW website.

At least in Sonoma County, “sustainability” will soon be a difficult word to abuse. And no matter where a company is based, its claims of sustainable, biodynamic, or organic (certified or not) wine must be well documented.

Labeling

A wine label is packed with information, some TTB-required and some added for flourish. When care is taken, both categories of information can be authentic, transparent, and (yes!) fully true.

Many words commonly used on wine labels (such as those below) lack a legal basis, which obfuscates their meaning.

  • Old Clone
  • Old Vine
  • Barrel Select
  • Heritage
  • Bottle-Aged
  • Select Harvest
  • Proprietor’s Blend
  • Balance

What is the purpose of such verbiage? Marketers might do well to choose carefully. If the intent is to create a sense that the wine is distinctive, there may be another, more concise way to do so. After all, while there is no implicit lie in these words, there is no real truth, either.

Who regulates truth in marketing?

As any industry insider knows, the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB) is the main regulatory organization for the wine industry. The organization does provide a good deal of scrutiny to every wine label printed for commercial purposes. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission can and does provide some checks and balances to advertising. Other specific organizations, such as those mentioned in the “greenwashing” section of this article, are also working to provide oversight and regulation. Who else is responsible?

- Wineries (redux):

  • Manage customer perceptions with careful attention to some of the key verbiage outlined above.

  • Within the winery, communication is important, too. Use a company mission to get employees on the same page, so that the product produced is in sync with the product marketed.

  • Tailor product experiences (i.e. tours, tastings) so that customers can decide for themselves what they are drinking. They are the ultimate arbiter of “authentic.”

- Reviewers & Retailers: 

  • Do your homework on brands before celebrating, placing, or promoting them.

- Consumers: 

  • Know that wine, while inherently romantic, is business. You are being sold on a product, and it’s up to you to think critically about its contents.
  • Ask questions. Drink in the experience. Enjoy.

 by Amy Bess Cook

 

The Random Side of Premature Oxidation
16 July, 2015

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Twenty years after the phenomenon started causing fear and frustration in so many fine wine collectors’ hearts, there is still no clear-cut answer, no single-bullet theory about the exact causes of the premature oxidation that affected so many bottles of top white Burgundy. The debate and the reasons that have come to the surface, however, do tell a cautionary tell that should be taken into account by all makers of white wine.

One of the main aspects of the “premox” crisis—and one of the reasons it was so feared by collectors of fine wine—is the random character of that premature oxidation. Why would one bottle be fine and the next from the same lot be decrepit and READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


Nomacorc celebrates 15-years in business, 20 billion closures sold
12 January, 2015

Nomacorc, a leading producer of wine closures, achieved many milestones in 2014, including celebrating the company’s 15-year anniversary in business and more than 20 billion closures sold. Longtime customer Ken Wright’s 2012 Abbott Claim Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton District, 97 points, $65) was named Wine Enthusiast’s No. 1 wine of 2014. Originally conceived as an entrepreneur’s solution to cork taint and bottle variation, Nomacorc has grown to be one of the largest still wine closure manufacturers in the world. Since its inception, the company has established four facilities, most recently in San Juan, Argentina, and has produced and sold more than 20 billion wine closures.

“Inspired by our founder Marc Noël’s quest to improve wine quality and prevent unnecessary wine waste, Nomacorc has grown steadily and we’ve expanded our product and service offerings to give winemakers tools they’ve never had before,” said Lars von Kantzow, president and CEO of Nomacorc since 2006. “In our short history, we’ve already contributed to changing the way the wine industry thinks about oxygen in wine development and the significance that closure choice has to overall wine quality.”

Award-winning French winery Michel Gassier bottled its 2013 Les Cépages Vigonier with Nomacorc’s 20 billionth milestone cork. “Nomacorc’s success is clearly demonstrated by their responsiveness to clients’ input and dedication to service,” said fourth generation winemaker Michel Gassier.

This year marked an important milestone not only in terms of growth but also in innovation. Over the past twelve months, Nomacorc received recognition and accolades for its new plant-based, zero carbon wine closure, Select Bio®. These honors included:

 Wine Industry Network WINovation award – Co-hosted by the North Bay Business Journal in California and the Wine Industry Network, the WINovation award honors companies that contribute to the advancement of the North American wine industry.

 Inspiration Packaging Awards Eco-Premio (Eco Prize) – Held in Madrid, Spain, the Inspirational Packaging Awards celebrates the best in design and innovation across the international packaging and POS market. The Eco-Premio award selects the best eco-innovation in the field of waste management and materials.

 The Drinks Business Green Awards “Best Green Launch” – As the world’s largest program to raise awareness of green issues in the drinks trade, The Drinks Business Green Award recognizes companies who are leading the way in sustainability and environmental performance. The “Best Green Launch” award honors a product that promotes an environmentally-friendly cause and clearly demonstrates its sustainable benefits.

“We are thrilled about the overwhelmingly positive response we have received this year from about our new Select Bio plant-based cork,” said Dr. Olav Aagaard, Nomacorc’s principal scientist. “This can be directly attributed to our ongoing goal of innovation and technological excellence, and we look forward to providing even more sustainable solutions for wineries in the future.”

Earlier this year, leading Italian association Vino Libero, a 13-member wine and spirits organization focused on environmental sustainability announced an exclusive partnership agreement with Nomacorc’s Select Bio zero carbon footprint wine closure. In the near future, Vino Libero wines closed with Select Bio will be found at Eataly concepts around the world along with premium wine shops and restaurants that subscribe to the Vino Libero business philosophy.

“As an industry focused around farming and ecology, we see more and more wineries seeking reliable tools and materials that are also sustainable,” continued Dr. Aagaard. “Our Select Bio cork is the complete package, as it provides both high-quality and environmental benefits into an innovative packaging solution.”

To end the year on a high note, Nomacorc-closed Ken Wright 2012 Abbott Claim Vineyard Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton District, 97 points, $65) was selected as the No. 1 pick in Wine Enthusiast’s 2014 Enthusiast 100. The wine was awarded the highest honor by Wine Enthusiast’s tasting panel, which reviewed more than 17,500 wines from around the globe, covering myriad regions, styles, and prices. Ken Wright has entrusted his critically-acclaimed, special-release library wines to Nomacorc for more than 10 years.

“Being named Wine Enthusiast’s top wine of 2014 is an outstanding achievement,” said von Kantzow. “We are extremely proud to be a part of his delicious, hand-crafted wines.”

To learn more about Nomacorc and its portfolio of engineered wine closures, please visit www.nomacorc.com.


Go Big or Go Home: Thoughts about Tannin Structures and Oxygen Resistance in Red Wines
08 December, 2014

There are a number of complementary factors – and perhaps almost as many competing theories – about what makes a red wine resistant to oxygen, meaning how well and how long it will keep its aromatic profile after the bottle is opened, or how long it will keep when it is laid down in the cellar. While there is no magic bullet or single determining factor, certain elements are seen as more important than others, notably acidity and phenolics.

 

Since aging wine is essentially a process of slow oxidation, it seems important to make sure all the necessary elements are present in sufficient amounts to slow down that process as much as possible – at least, when trying to make a vin de garde, made for longer-term aging. However, what are sufficient amounts of these components and how do they interplay? The answers are quite complex, and there are examples that defy expectations.

 

For instance, it could be assumed that a lower pH and higher acidity would be an indispensable element in ensuring that a wine can age for many years if not decades. But some wines run contrary to that expectation.

 

“Take the 1947 Cheval Blanc, for instance”, points out Jean Hoefliger, winemaker at Alpha Omega in Napa and Monteverro, in Tuscany, who has also made wine in Bordeaux and in his native Switzerland. “It’s from a very hot year, the pH is somewhere around 3.9, so the acid is low and it was made from very ripe grapes. Yet it’s seen as one of the best ones ever made, and by all reports, it is still tasting fine to this day.”

 

Of course, this is a bit of reasoning through extremes: a 47 Cheval Blanc is the exception, not the rule. Not all ultra-ripe wines at a pH close to 4 will be able to keep going for over 60 years.

 

Hoefliger recognizes that the acidity level is an important part of a well-structured wine made for aging, generally speaking, but he argues that it may not be quite as important when other conditions are present, in a way that can compensate for lower acid. “Alcohol levels and especially tannins play a very big role as well. In Napa, I don’t need acidity in the wines in the same way that I did in Switzerland, for instance, because I have these enormous tannin structures.”

 

When a wine is in contact with oxygen, the so-called “oxydation cascade” starts, eventually leading to obvious oxidation.  Tannins and other phenolic coTanninsPost_RedWinemponents like anthocyanins  are rapidly involved in this series of reactions – in certain ways “intercepting” the oxygen before it can affect other elements in the wine. Therefore having higher amounts of those components would logically mean more oxygen resistance, just because of quantity. But there are other factors at work, like the type of tannins and phenolic compounds. And here again, oxygen is a key element. Just as an example, when tannins and anthocyanins react together in the presence of oxygen, wine color becomes more stable during aging, another key feature of long-lasting wines. While the general interactions are understood, the specific mechanisms that make this possible in an individual wine remain largely unknown, as far as chemical reactions and interactions go. Why does it remain so mysterious? First of all, phenolic compounds interact with a mind-bogglingly high number of different compounds, and bind – and sometimes recombine – differently under various conditions involving pH, the presence or absence of oxygen, the length of polymer chains (which can vary over time) and the types of tannins (from stems, skins or seeds or even oak).

 

Vinification methods can also intervene. Aging a red wine in barrel, for instance, will not only introduce a certain amount of oxygen in the reactions, influencing the formation of polymer chains in many components, but also introduce aldehydes from the toasted wood, which will modify the way the polymer chains build themselves.

 

Micro-oxygenation is also known to have a great influence on the way tannins form – and how they feel on tasting. The debate on the effects of micro-ox on the aging potential of a wine, on the other hand, is still raging in winemaking circles.

 

More recently, a number of studies have also shown that by using closures allowing defined oxygen ingress, wine tannin profile can actually be further ‘sculpted’ in the bottle, so that the winemaking process can actually continue post-bottling.

 

 

 

In any case, phenolics and tannins should be carefully taken into account, as well as their interaction with oxygen during winemaking and their effects on long-term oxygen resistance in a finished wine. Whether you are making a red wine accessible for short-term drinking or a cuvée for the ages, they are a key element in the wine’s personality and style.

About the Author

Rémy Charest is a Quebec City-based journalist, writer, and translator. He has been writing about wine and food since 1997 in various Canadian and American print and online publications Le Devoir, Le Soleil, Coup de Pouce, EnRoute, Palate Press, Punch Drink, WineAlign and Châtelaine, and has been a regular radio columnist for Montreal's CJAD and CBC/Radio-Canada. He is also a wine judge on national and international wine competitions, notably the National Wine Awards of Canada and the World Wine Awards of Canada organized by WineAlign.

Rémy Charest Photo Credit: Jason Dziver


Recycling Recap: Which Wine Closures Are Recyclable?
05 November, 2014

Wine bottles have a clear path to the afterlife. After the wine’s been poured and the toasts have been raised, the empty bottles go to recycling centers where they’re sorted by color, crushed into small pieces known as cullet, and sent on to become new bottles and glasses or turned into building materials and more.

 

The corks and caps that top off those bottles, on the other hand, have a more complicated route to salvage salvation.

 

Here’s a rundown on the pluses and minuses of closure types and what can be done to keep them out of landfills.

 

Continue reading here!


Six common wine faults and tips on how to identify them
21 October, 2014

BRETT
What it is: Brett is short for Brettanomyces, a type of yeast that frequents wineries—it likes the phenols that make up red wine—imparting an earthy aroma to the wines it comes in contact with. This is one of the trickier flaws since some people enjoy a touch of Brett, and there are wineries that work with the quality rather than fight it.

How to spot it: Most commonly heralded by a smell of barnyard or Band-Aids. Dr. Linda Bisson and her colleagues at the University of California, Davis, have tested dozens of strains of Brett and discovered that about a quarter of them add good flavors, including meaty, floral, and fruity notes. At the other end of the scale, though, it can add notes of rotten meat, sewer gas, and burnt beans. A hint of leather or bacon might not be a bad thing. A full-on hit of dog park probably means it’s time to send the bottle back.

 

COOKED

What it is: This flaw is just as it sounds: The wine has been allowed to overheat. In the process it’s either lost some of its “oomph” or become flat-out stewed tasting, like over-brewed tea. This can be caused by a number of factors, like sitting on a loading dock in 80-degree temperatures, or being stored in a basement right next to the water heater. Most wineries try to avoid cooking their wines by not shipping in the summer or by using package inserts that register when temperatures go above tolerance levels. But overall, the average consumer is still pretty much at the mercy of suppliers.

How to spot it: Sometimes it’s easy. The cork might stick out from the neck of the bottle slightly, having been forced out as contents heated and expanded. Other signs include streaky wine stains on the sides of the cork. If the damage is not severe—cooked all the way—you might simply detect raisin-y, stewed fruit aromas in the wine.

 

CORKED
What it is: A big problem and one that’s also easily misunderstood. After all, aren’t most wines corked—as in sealed with a cork? When used to describe a flaw, however, “corked” means that the wine has come into contact with a chemical known as TCA (short for 2,4,6-trichloranisole). This chemical typically forms when natural fungi come into contact with chlorophenols in plant matter. Exposure to TCA is harmless at low levels, but it will wreak havoc on wine. Although it can contaminate barrels and bottling lines, it is most closely associated with use of natural cork. Estimates vary on the amount of contamination exists today in the global supply of cork stoppers. The commonly quoted figure is 3 percent, although other estimates are higher.

How to spot it: Despite what you may have seen in old movies, you’re not going to detect cork taint from sniffing the cork. It also has nothing to do with little pieces of cork that crumble into the wine. You’ll detect it by sniffing the wine and noticing a smell like wet, musty newspapers, wet cardboard, or moldy basement. It doesn’t take a lot of TCA to make an impact; most people can smell it at 10 parts per trillion. (For reference, one part per trillion is like mixing one drop of red dye into 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.) Different people do have different sensitivities to TCA, though, so what reeks to one person might smell just slightly suspect to another. What really scares winemakers is that in lower concentrations you don’t find the telltale note of damp basement but are left with a wine that simply tastes a little off or muted. Those customers wouldn’t bring back the bottle—but they probably won’t buy another, either.

 

OXIDATION
What it is: This is another of those good news, bad news issues. Oxidation is the type of spoilage that happens when you cut up fruit and leave it out on your kitchen counter. Some wines are improved by oxidation, and in fact their style is meant to be oxidized—think Madeira and Sherry. Also, older wines are pleasantly transformed by the tiny bit of oxygen that has passed through the cork during long storage and bottle age. But a fresh, crisp wine like a young Sauvignon Blanc will definitely suffer if it has gotten too much air.

How to spot it: This is where the eyes have it; color is a common tip-off to oxidization. Vivid reds turn brick-red or brown; whites darken to amber or gold-brown. In terms of aroma, white wines can smell like apple cider or Sherry. Red wines will smell flat and sometimes have a caramel quality.

 

REDUCTION
What it is: This is the flip side of oxidation; the wine hasn’t gotten enough exposure to oxygen during its production and cellar and bottle aging, usually due to winemaking techniques aimed at reducing oxidation flaws.

How to spot it: A reduced wine gives off an odor of sulfur, like burnt rubber or rotten eggs. It can sometimes be fixed by decanting, and thus aerating, the wine. Another trick to ameliorate a reduced wine is to drop a small piece of copper, even a (clean!) pre-1980s penny, into the wine. The copper latches onto the sulfur molecules and makes them unavailable to your nose and tongue.

 

VOLATILE ACID
What it is: Volatile acid, known as VA, occurs naturally in wine and is usually caused when bacteria create acetic acid, the substance that gives vinegar its characteristic flavor. In small quantities it’s not a problem. But if particularly virulent bacteria take hold and the VA gets out of control—watch out.

How to spot it: You stick your nose in the glass expecting to smell wine. You get a sharp whiff of vinegar or acetone. Often the wine will also taste like vinegar.

 

BONUS POINT
Here’s one more very common weird thing that can happen to wine: Sometimes crystals will accumulate in the bottom of a bottle that has rested in the refrigerator for a day or two. These crystals form when potassium and tartaric acid naturally occurring in the wine combine and sink out of solution. A good winemaker will stabilize the wine so it’ll withstand typical refrigeration temperatures without forming these crystals. But if it does happen, don’t worry. This flaw is harmless—and happily, it’s one that won’t affect wine’s taste.

About the Author

Michelle Locke is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay area who writes about food, drink and travel. Her stories appear in newspapers across the country and she is a columnist for the wine website Palate Press. She blogs at www.michellelocke.com.


Entwine Launches 100 Percent Consumer Guarantee Program With Nomacorc
14 October, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENTWINE LAUNCHES

100 PERCENT CONSUMER GUARANTEE PROGRAM WITH NOMACORC

New Program Offers Confidence to Consumers and Trade for Fault-Free Wine

 

LIVERMORE, Calif., and ZEBULON, N.C. (September 16, 2014) entwine, a California wine portfolio from Wente Vineyards, the oldest continuously-operated family-owned winery in America, today launched a 100% Money Back Guarantee program. In collaboration with Nomacorc, the world’s leading producer of high-tech wine corks, the 100% Money Back Guarantee program ensures that all consumers who purchase a bottle of entwine wine will enjoy every sip or they will get their money back.

 

The 100% Money Back Guarantee program is driven by entwine’s new smart closure, Nomacorc Select® Series, which eliminates the risk of wine faults, including cork taint, oxidation and reduction, and ensures consistency from bottle to bottle. In addition, Nomacorc closures are fully recyclable and do not break or crumble when removed from the bottle.

 

“The switch to Nomacorc wine closures allows us to be more confident in guaranteeing customer satisfaction and ensuring that all entwine wines are expressed the way our winemaking team intended,” said Karl Wente, fifth generation winemaker at Wente Vineyards. “This new partnership will help maintain Wente’s long tradition of producing high-quality wines.”

 

Initially inspired to make food and wine pairing more approachable, entwine offers a portfolio of food-friendly, high-quality wines in partnership with Food Network. The portfolio consists of four varietal wines: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, each with its own distinct personality and flavor. Working with Food Network Kitchen, all entwine wines come with a diverse menu of food pairing possibilities ranging from comfort foods like macaroni and cheese to show-stopping recipes created by Food Network Kitchens.

 

entwine is a brand that is backed by exceptional quality and a strong passion for expressing a wine’s vibrant aromas and flavors,” said Lars von Kantzow, president and CEO of Nomacorc. “These same values are intrinsic to Nomacorc and our products. Our company’s entire reason for being is to offer consumers the chance to enjoy wine without worry.”

 

Beginning in October, all entwine wines will come with a 100% Money Back Guarantee, promoted through in-store point-of-sale. If a consumer is dissatisfied with his/her entwine wine purchase, they can submit their claim to the winery for reimbursement of the purchased wine as permitted by state law. The guarantee will be offered through October 2015.

 

“In a crowded retail environment where thousands of wines are available, the 100% Money Back Guarantee program offers added assurance to consumers that our wines will taste exactly as we intend,” continued Wente.

 

For more information about where to purchase entwine, along with wine and food pairing suggestions, visit www.entwine-wines.com.

To learn more about Nomacorc wine closures, visit www.nomacorc.com.

 

About Nomacorc

Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With nearly 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

 

About Wente Vineyards

Founded in 1883, Wente Family Estates is the oldest continuously-operated family-owned winery in the country, now owned and managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. The winery draws from nearly 3,000 acres of Estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay and Arroyo Seco, Monterey appellations to create an outstanding portfolio of fine wines. Wente Vineyards is distributed in all 50 states and in over 70 countries worldwide. In 2010, Wente Vineyards was among the first wineries to receive the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation, and one of the only wineries to certify every aspect of its business. In 2011, Wente Family Estates was named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast and a top 30 wine company by Wine Business Monthly. The year 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the Wente family bringing Chardonnay cuttings to California. Today the Wente clone of Chardonnay is the most widely planted in California. This year, the winery celebrates its 130th vintage.

Located just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations. The property features wine tasting, world-class concerts, award-winning fine dining and championship golf. For more information, visit www.wentevineyards.com.

 

About Food Network 

FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers' best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring and empowering through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine has tripled its rate base and delivers a circulation of 1.45 million. Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24 hour networks in Great Britain, India, Asia and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (www.cookingchanneltv.com), DIY Network (www.diynetwork.com ), Great American Country (www.gactv.com), HGTV (www.hgtv.com), and Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com),  is the manager and general partner.

 

Contacts: Katie Myers

+1-214-766-4566

kmyers@nomacorc.com

 

Whitney Rigsbee

+1-919-460-2274

wrigsbee@nomacorc.com

 

Heather Everett, Wente Family Estates

Heather.Everett@wentevineyards.com

 

 

 

 


The Carbon Neutral Cork by Nomacorc, 100% Recyclable & Renewable
12 September, 2014

Azienda Agricola Ciccio Zaccagnini has become the first wine producer importing into Australia to adopt wholesale use of the Nomacorc carbon neutral Select Bio closure.

The closures are 100% recyclable and renewable, and are made from plant-based polymers derived from sugar cane.

“Essentially, it is an engineered cork that is also bio-based, and is an almost perfect solution for closing wine,” said Marcello Zaccagnini, owner of Azienda Zaccagnini.

 “We wanted a closure for our wines that pushed us further towards becoming carbon neutral, that let the wine breathe, and still allowed for the charm of cork extraction,” says Zaccagnini. “But most importantly, as a producer of three million bottles a year, we wanted to eliminate cork taint problems that could affect the quality of up to 10% of our stock.”

In order to find a sustainable closure that met the company’s needs, Zaccagnini winemaker Concenzio Marulli launched a research project in collaboration with Antonella Bosso from the Centro di Ricerca per l'Enologia1 in Asti. Over a period of 18 months, they studied the evolution of wine with different kinds of closures: natural cork, screw cap, and Nomacorc.

Marulli said “Quite simply, we saw the best results with Nomacorc. The ability to choose from one of three styles of Select Bio closures – each with different oxygen ingress levels – gives us the power to fine-tune the consistent delivery of the right amount of oxygen to our wines.”

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Avalon Winery First in U.S. to Use Nomacorc's New Plant-Based Closure
21 August, 2014

Nomacorc one of the world’s leading producers of wine closures, is pleased to announce that Sonoma County-based Avalon Winery as the first United States winery to use Nomacorc’s new plant-based Select® Bio, a zero carbon footprint wine closure. This sustainable closure, made with renewable, plant-based biopolymers derived from sugar cane, will be used in Avalon’s wines, beginning with the 2012 vintage of their flagship California “CAB.”
 
Avalon, a respected wine brand that specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, is dedicated to delivering quality-driven wines with great value.  In addition to quality, the company places a strong emphasis on sustainability. Located on the site of a historic apple cannery, the Avalon Winery has led the industry with many environmentally sustainable practices, including the first-of-its-kind 232kw solar cogeneration system installed in 2010, rainwater catchment and diversion to safeguard the nearby Graton salmon spawning reserve, water efficiency upgrades and careful carbon management.
 
“We’ve striven to minimize our carbon footprint in all that we do - in the winery, in the vineyard and in our community,” said Lisa Ehrlich, Executive Vice President, Marketing of Purple Wine Company.  “Our next step was to implement sustainable solutions and practices into our packaging.  Nomacorc’s Select Bio closure is a perfect choice for our California CAB as it combines quality performance and environmental benefits,” continued Ehrlich.
 
As the first U.S. winery to use Select Bio, Avalon hopes to set an example for other wineries seeking more environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Lars von Kantzow, President and CEO of Nomacorc stated, “Avalon is a very well-respected winery that provides quality Cabernet Sauvignon at a value that consumers can enjoy often. We are proud they are the first U.S.-based Select Bio customer and applaud their leadership in winemaking and sustainability, paving the way for other sustainability-focused wineries.”
 
Nomacorc’s Select Bio closure is the world’s first zero carbon footprint wine closure. It mirrors the same oxygen management performance as Nomacorc’s innovative Select Series closures, which can precisely control the oxygen transmission through the closure and help prevent oxygen-related wine faults, such as oxidation and reduction. In addition, Select Bio, like all Nomacorc closures, is fully recyclable (Resin Identification Code 4) and is TCA-free.
 
“Since its inception, Nomacorc has been focused on creating better wine closures that protect wine and improve overall quality,” said Dr. Olav Aagaard, Nomacorc’s principal scientist. “Select Bio is a true reflection of our drive for innovation, and we are excited to offer wineries a closure that is both reliable and sustainable,” continued Aagaard.
 
Sourced from grapes grown in selected vineyards throughout California (including Napa Valley, Lodi, and Paso Robles), the 2012 Avalon CAB is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel and 4% Merlot. Avalon CAB is nationally distributed at a suggested retail price of $12.
 
Bottling with Select Bio closures will begin in July and by years-end, all Avalon CAB wines will contain Nomacorc’s Select Bio plant-based closure. The closure, which was recently awarded Best Green Launch at The Drinks Business Green Awards, is now commercially available in both the United States and in Europe.  
 
For more information on Select Bio and its carbon credentials, visit http://www.nomacorc.com/wine-closure-select-bio.php.
 
About Nomacorc
Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With nearly 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc onTwitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).
 
About Avalon Winery
Avalon Winery, located in the town of Graton in Sonoma County, California, produces top selling wines recognized for outstanding quality and food friendly style. Avalon specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon including a Napa Valley bottling and the winery’s flagship California “CAB” Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are part of the Purple Wine Company portfolio of brands that include: Four Vines, BEX, Cryptic and Alto Cinco. Avalon was recently named a "Hot Prospect" brand by M. Shanken’s Impact Newsletter for 2012, tracking the most promising wine and spirits growth brands in the marketplace. For more information, visit avalonwinery.com or like Avalon on Facebook.
 
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Media Contacts:

Katie Myers
+1-214-766-4566
 
Whitney Rigsbee
+1-919-460-2274

 

Holly Evans, Avalon
+1-707-501-0644

London Green Awards - Nomacorc Receives Best Green Launch Award
25 June, 2014

 Nomacorc, one of the world’s leading producers of wine closures, was awarded the Best Green Launch in The Drinks Business’ annual Green Awards held April 30th in London. The Best Green Launch honor recognizes a product that promotes an environmentally-friendly cause and clearly demonstrates its sustainable benefits.  Nomacorc received the award for its Select® Bio closure, the world’s first zero carbon footprint wine closure.
 
Nomacorc’s Select Bio closure, which also received the New Technology award at the SIMEI-ENOVITIS tradeshow in Italy last November, is made using renewable, plant-based biopolymers derived from sugar cane. The closures mirror Nomacorc’s current Select® Series portfolio in oxygen management performance, and can help minimize the environmental impact of wines by preventing spoilage and waste from cork taint and oxygen-related wine faults, such as oxidation and reduction. In addition, Select Bio closures are fully recyclable and do not contain any glue or adhesives.
 
Nomacorc’s Richard Teply, general manager for Europe, who accepted the award on the company’s behalf, stated, “Since the launch of Select Bio, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the trade and wineries seeking a more sustainable and reliable packaging solution. We are honored to be recognized for our hard work in developing the world’s first zero carbon wine closure and our continued progress in innovation and sustainability.”
 
Dr. Olav Aagaard, principal scientist at Nomacorc, added, “Our Select Bio carbon neutral wine closure is truly a unique product. It not only performs consistently but is the first wine closure created from plant-based biopolymers, ensuring that wineries have the optimum sustainable packaging solution for their wines.”
 
The Drinks Business Green Awards is the world’s largest program to raise awareness of green issues in the drinks trade and recognizes companies who are leading the way in sustainability and environmental performance. Winners are judged by an independent panel of sustainability and drinks experts. Nomacorc is the first alternative closure manufacturer to receive this honor.
 
To read the full list of winners from the Green Awards, visit http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/04/green-awards-2014-the-winners-revealed.
 
To learn more about Nomacorc’s Select Bio closure, including its carbon footprint assessment, visit http://www.nomacorc.com/wine-closure-select-bio.php. 
 
About Nomacorc
Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With nearly 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc onTwitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

Nomacorc Featured on the Hit T.V. Show, "How it's Made"
15 May, 2014

Nomacorc, the largest producer of synthetic wine closures, will be featured on the hit T.V. show How It’s Made on May 15th, on Discovery’s Science channel at 9 p.m. EST. How It’s Made explores common, everyday items and offers viewers a first-hand look at how they are manufactured.  Thursday night’s show will take a deeper look into Nomacorc’s unique co-extrusion technology, which allows the company to produce more than 7 million synthetic closures per day.

To check the T.V. scheduling, visit: www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/how-its-made/tv-schedule.htm

 


Nomacorc and Vino Libero establish partnership agreement to improve wine quality with a strong focus on sustainability
08 April, 2014

VINO LIBERO INITIATES agreement with NOMACORC, world leader in wine closures, at Vinitaly

VERONA, ITALY (April 7, 2014) – Nomacorc, a leading producer of wine closures, and Vino Libero, an association of 12 important Italian wine producers and one distillery, have established a partnership agreement to improve wine quality and promote their products with a strong focus on environmental sustainability. Select Bio, the first wine closure with zero carbon footprint, is 100% recyclable and made with renewable biopolymer materials derived from sugar cane. The Select Bio closure also reduces wine waste resulting from cork taint or oxygen mismanagement issues like oxidation and reduction.         

"The Vino Libero project is focused on the environment and the health of the consumer, both in the vineyards and in the cellar,” said Andrea Macchione, CEO of Fontanafredda, one of Italy’s oldest and most respected wineries in Piemonte, and CEO of the Vino Libero alliance. “This collaboration stems from the desire of both Vino Libero and Nomacorc to constantly innovate and be at the forefront of new opportunities and projects.”

“Both companies know that the wine market in the future will bring more and more carefully educated, prepared consumers who demand excellence in their wines,” said Macchione.

Vino Libero wines are free from synthetic fertilizers (wineries only use natural organic fertilizers), free from herbicides (land is maintained according to traditional practices) and free from high sulphite levels (wines contain at least 40% less sulphites than the limit established by law).

Macchione continued: “Partnering with Nomacorc has allowed us to take another important step toward our ambitious goal of ridding wine from anything and everything that may negatively interfere with wine quality, in order to rediscover the intrinsic and authentic values of wine. Nomacorc Select Bio closures, therefore, are perfect for our wineries seeking cutting-edge technology and environmental awareness.”

"We are proud to partner with the prestigious group of Vino Libero producers,” said Lars von Kantzow, president and CEO of Nomacorc. “We share a belief that the production of great wines should happen with respect for the environment. Select Bio, the first zero CO2 emissions closure in the world, is our natural point of union.

“With Select Bio, we can guarantee that there will be no wasted wine due to closure fault – a devastating environmental impact – and that consumers will enjoy their favorite wines as they have been designed by the winemakers, through proper management of the oxygen in the bottle,” continued von Kantzow.

Vinitaly is the official launch of the Vino Libero and Nomacorc partnership, after which wineries will begin to use Select Bio in 2014 bottling’s. More information about Nomacorc Select Bio can be found at http://www.nomacorc.com/wine-closure-select-bio.php.

About Vino Libero

The Association brings together 12 VINO LIBERO winemakers and one distillery from eight different Italian regions, from Piedmont to Sicily, engaged as one in team to apply a model of sustainable agriculture that is both economically viable, environmentally and socially correct. The agriculture of VINO LIBERO breaks down the divisions between the different models of cultivation and that is a new one, better suited to the needs of producers and consumers. It is a model "dynamic" that is continually enriched by new arguments, which promotes research and it is constantly improving, but focuses firmly on its goals of environmental protection, consumer protection and satisfaction of the manufacturer. All member companies take decisions that favor the cultivation of the natural processes that preserve the "resource environment," avoiding resorting to practices harmful to the soil and minimizing the use of chemicals.

 

Press office:

Chiara Destefanis                                            Francesca Tablino Possio

+39 342 6696519                                            +39 333 4799195

destefanis@fontanafredda.it                          tablino@fondazionemirafiore.it

 

About Nomacorc

Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With nearly 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

 

Press Office:

Katie Myers                                                    Whitney Rigsbee

+1-214-766-4566                                            +1-919-460-2274

kmyers@nomacorc.com                                  wrigsbee@nomacorc.com

 

 


NEW OXYGEN MANAGEMENT EQUIPMENT FROM NOMACORC ADVANCES WINE QUALITY INITIATIVES
02 July, 2013

Nomacorc Launches Next Generation NomaSense Oxygen Analyzer for Wine Industry

ZEBULON, N.C. (July 1, 2013) –Nomacorc, the world’s largest producer of alternative wine closures and leader in oxygen management technology, announced today the launch of its breakthrough next generation NomaSense oxygen analyzer system. The new NomaSense offering is the first portable Total Package Oxygen (TPO) meter designed specifically for the wine industry and allows users to measure and control the total amount of oxygen in wine, particularly during bottling. 

Nomacorc continues to serve as an important partner to wineries and academic institutions across the globe,” said Malcolm Thompson, vice president of innovation and strategy at Nomacorc. “By developing a sophisticated, easy-to-use analyzer, we hope to provide more winemakers with the proper tools to manage oxygen pick-up at bottling and deliver wines just as they intend.”

In this latest NomaSense innovation, wineries can measure both head space and dissolved oxygen using an integrated conversion calculator to determine the TPO. The NomaSense O2 P300 has a limit of detection of 15 parts per billion (ppb) and is intended for use throughout the winemaking process – most importantly at the bottling line – to improve quality control. The more sensitive NomaSense O2 P6000 has a lower detection limit of 1 part per billion and can also serve as a quality control tool, but is more specifically for laboratory use and scientific study.

The ability to measure and manage oxygen is critical to ensuring wine quality and extending the shelf-life potential of wines,” said Dr. Stéphane Vidal, global director of enology at Nomacorc. “The substantive enhancements to the NomaSense product line allow wineries to improve wine quality and help achieve bottle-to-bottle consistency.”

Improvements to the device were based on feedback from initial users, making the device well-adapted to winery environments. Other features and benefits include an improved user-friendly software interface with easier navigation, as well as enhanced data and file management systems for better traceability. The new devices also make sample identification easier via a QR code reader. Last but not least, the high-tech portable device has a sleek appearance and is significantly smaller in size compared to the original NomaSense analyzer – all while being more affordable.

Compatible with existing accessories and consumables, the NomaSense O2 P6000 and NomaSense O2 P300 is commercially available in July 2013.

For more information about Nomacorc’s NomaSense oxygen analyzer equipment, visit http://www.nomacorc.com/wine-oxygen-analyzers.php.

About Nomacorc

Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

 

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NOMACORC ANNOUNCES FIRST ZERO CARBON FOOTPRINT CLOSURE
25 April, 2013

First Plant-Based Closure Will Be Ready For 2014 Bottling Season 

ZEBULON, N.C. (April 24, 2013) – Nomacorc, the leading producer of alternative wine closures, today introduced the world’s first zero carbon footprint wine closure, Select® Bio. Made with plant-based polymers derived from sugar cane, Select Bio will be first presented to the industry during the Intervitis Interfructa trade show April 24 – 27, 2013 in the Stuttgart Messe in Germany.

Engineered to be the best closure solution for sustainable wineries and their wines, Select Bio closures will be 100 percent recyclable and made using renewable, plant-based materials. The closures will mirror Nomacorc’s current Select® Series portfolio in oxygen management performance. As with other Select Series products, Select Bio will minimize the environmental impact of wines by preventing spoilage and waste from wine faults such as oxidation and reduction. By consistently delivering the right amount of oxygen into the bottle using a carbon neutral closure, sustainability-minded wineries will now be able to deliver their wines just as they intend. 

“Select Bio is an exciting milestone in Nomacorc’s long history of industry-leading research and innovation,” said Lars von Kantzow, president & CEO, Nomacorc LLC. “Not only are we able to serve wineries seeking a more reliable and sustainable packaging solution, but we can reduce our overall corporate carbon footprint while taking an important first step towards our goal of minimizing the use of fossil-based energy and materials across our entire range of products.”

Select Bio is especially well-suited for organic and biodynamic wines that minimize the use of sulfites for wine preservation. Through Nomacorc’s patented co-extrusion process, Select Bio has the ability to control oxygen ingress, reducing a wine’s susceptibility to spoilage due to oxygen mismanagement while improving post-bottle aging and bottle-to-bottle consistency. Select Bio’s plant-based polymers are derived from sugar cane, which, due to its renewable nature, contributes a negative carbon footprint value. Incorporating these polymers into Nomacorc’s formulation fully offsets positive emissions originating from conventional raw materials in the product, resulting in closures having a zero carbon footprint.

“The use of plant-based materials provides extra benefits to the already strong performance of Nomacorc closures in end-of-life disposal scenarios, including recycling and incineration,” said Dr. Olav Aagaard, Nomacorc’s principal scientist. “So when evaluating a closure’s carbon footprint, its susceptibility to spoiling wine and the environmental impact of end-of-life disposal, Select Bio is clearly the only solution that fully addresses all three aspects of the closure’s life cycle.”

The Select Bio Series will include three distinct products, each with different oxygen ingress levels. It will have the same look and feel as the traditional Select Series including serrated ends, chamfered edges, custom side printing and optional custom end-printing. The Select Bio Series will be offered for bottling trials with a select group of Nomacorc customers following the Intervitis wine fair. The full portfolio will be commercially available for the 2014 bottling season.

For more information about Nomacorc’s sustainable progress and objectives visit http://www.nomacorc.com/nomacorc-sustainability.php.

About Nomacorc

Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

 

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FREE Oxygen & Wine Quality Seminar Will Offer Practical Solutions
19 February, 2013

At the inaugural Wine Science Forum, leading internationally-recognized experts will discuss how to manage oxygen to improve wine quality, collectively outlining practical solutions to assist winemakers in their quest to optimize their wines.

The forum will be led by five keynote speakers including Dr. Andrew Waterhouse from UC Davis and Professor James Kennedy from Fresno State University.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO CONFIRM ATTENDANCE

When: March 11, 2013 - Where: Napa - Time: 12pm to 5pm

For details and to sign up visit: www.winescienceforum.com


NOMACORC ADDS THREE NEW ACADEMIC PARTNERS TO EXPAND OXYGEN MANAGEMENT RESEARCH PROGRAM
18 September, 2012

ZEBULON, N.C. (September 10, 2012) – Nomacorc, the world’s largest producer of synthetic wine closures, has initiated new research projects with three world-renowned academic institutions. The programs will be performed at DLR Rheinpfalz in Germany, Centro Ricerca e Innovazione (CRI) in Italy, and the University of Zaragoza in Spain and will contribute to the ever-growing database that Nomacorc has built to evaluate oxygen’s role in wine development and winemaking processes. In conjunction with ongoing programs at the Geisenheim Institute in Germany and Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, these new research initiatives are expected to broaden Nomacorc’s knowledge on wine and oxygen interactions.
 
The program at DLR Rheinpfalz, a technical university based in Neustadt, Germany, will be led by Professor Ulrich (Uli) Fischer, manager of the university’s enology department and specialist in sensory science. The project will focus on the influence of winemaking technology and oxygen exposure on the sensory and chemical composition of the Pinot Noir wine variety, before and after bottling.   

CRI is part of Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), a public research institution based in San Michele all’Adige, Italy. CRI has experience working with the Italian wine industry in areas of study including agricultural science, nutrition, and the environment. In addition, CRI is involved in major international initiatives including the Grape Metabolome project. The Nomacorc program will be led by Dr. Fulvio Mattivi, who manages CRI’s analytical chemistry facility, and will focus on the key factors influencing the responsiveness of different wine varieties to oxygen.
 
The University of Zaragoza’s Laboratorio de Análisis de Aroma y Enología (Aroma and Enology Analysis Laboratory) in Spain is one of the world’s most highly-regarded research groups in the area of wine aroma composition. The program will be led by Professor Vicente Ferreira and will focus on the factors responsible for wine aroma associated with oxidation.
 
“With the addition of these institutions to our extraordinary research network, we will continue to build upon our understanding of the relationship between oxygen, wine chemistry and wine sensory characteristics,” said Dr. Maurizio Ugliano, enological research manager for Nomacorc. “The knowledge we obtain gets channeled into product development, our partnerships with winemakers, and ultimately, help improve the winemaker’s control of wine development and quality after bottling.”
 
To date, Nomacorc’s oxygen management research programs have produced detailed information about oxygen exposure susceptibility and levels during various winemaking stages (Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile), identified significant factors accelerating wine oxidation (University of California, Davis), described the influence of wine chemistry before bottling on wine post-bottling development (Australian Wine Research Institute), determined the influence of bottling on wine development (Geisenheim Institute) and assessed the impact of oxygen ingress rates on post-bottle wine aging, taking into consideration all of this collective knowledge (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique).
 
For more information about Nomacorc’s oxygen management research programs, visit http://www.nomacorc.com/oxygen-management.php.
 
About Nomacorc
Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium and China, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).
 
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Nomacorc Releases Second Annual Research Update
24 June, 2011

Nomacorc, the world’s leading producer of alternative wine closures, has released its second annual research update. A robust collection of keyinsights and learnings from Nomacorc’s renowned global academic research partnerships, the 2011 report advances previous understanding of the concept of “wine oxygen demand,” or the amount of oxygen a wine needs to develop optimally.

Integrating conclusions from leading enologists at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; The Australian Wine Research Institute; Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique; Geisenheim Institute; and the University of California, Davis, Nomacorc’s 2011 research update details studies carried out on numerous red and white wine varietals. Of particular interest are findings pertaining to the effects of oxygen exposure on red wine development during bottle storage.

“It is generally accepted that red wine benefits from some exposure to small amounts of oxygen, because oxidation of phenolic compounds results in increased color stability and better mouthfeel,” said Dr. Stéphane Vidal, global director of enology for Nomacorc. “However, this new research is significant, because it explores in detail the crucial role that specific amounts of oxygen at various points in the post-bottling aging process play in the proper development of red wines.”

The behaviors of Grenache, Shiraz, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon wines were examined under different oxygen regimes and monitored using NomaSense oxyluminescence technology. The studies indicated that variations in oxygen exposure during bottle storage – in particular, those introduced by the use of closures with different oxygen transfer rates (OTRs) – have a dramatic impact on wine aroma development in the bottle and that OTR is a key influencer on the development of red berry attributes. Also, researchers were able to identify an optimal range of OTRs to promote the expression of red and dark fruits, chocolate and spice attributes while avoiding the dominance ofreduced or aged characters.

“Nomacorc has set a high standard for collaborative and credible academic research in the industry,” said Professor Eduardo Agosin from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. “The good work they have initiated can lead to valuable applied solutions for the wine industry.”

Based on this knowledge, Nomacorc has pursued closure development strategies focused on creating a range of products able to provide a spectrum of OTRs that avoid faults and promote optimum aroma expression. The Select Series, launched in 2011, expands and extends the existing range of OTRs available from previous Nomacorc products. Following the successful launch of the Select 700 and 500 closures, the newest Select Series product – the Select 300 – recently debuted with Nomacorc’s lowest OTR commercially available. The Select 100 will launch later in 2011.

“The benefits of careful oxygen management are not limited to the control of aroma defects such as reduction and oxidation,” said Vidal. “By applying oxygen management strategies, particularly by selecting closures with the right OTR, it is also possible to enhance sensory attributes that are positively linked to consumer preference.”

The 2011 research update also summarizes key findings from the individual wine research institutes. For the full 2011 research report, please contact Jodi Phillip at jodi_phillip@richards.com.


Nomacorc Debuts Select Series Wine Closures to U.S. at Unified Wine and Grape Symposium
01 March, 2011

ZEBULON, N.C. (January 19, 2011) – Nomacorc, the world’s leading producer of alternative wine closures, is debuting its new, innovative, high-performance line of co-extruded closures – the Select Series – in the United States at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Jan. 25-27 in Sacramento, Calif.

Tailored to eliminate fault in winemaking and provide solutions for wines with complex oxygen management requirements, the Select Series consists of multiple products, each designed to play a specific role in post-bottling oxygen management, wine preservation and development. Nomacorc’s global research programs have revealed that the management of oxygen throughout the winemaking process is crucial to achieving optimal wine aroma, flavor, structure and color and that the closure directly affects the chemical and sensory development of wine.

The first two products in the Select Series – the Select 700, available for delivery this month, and the Select 500, available in February – will make their U.S. debut at the Unified Symposium. In April, Nomacorc will launch the Select 300, followed by the Select 100 later in 2011.

“We are excited for winemakers to experience firsthand how these closures integrate science and the art of winemaking,” said Malcolm Thompson, global vice president of marketing and innovation at Nomacorc. “The Select Series provides winemakers with closures that expand and extend the existing range of oxygen transfer rates available through Nomacorc products, with a visual appearance and texture almost indistinguishable from natural cork.”

The first synthetic closures that can be end-printed, the Select Series corks have a natural bark-like roughness and chamfered edge achieved using advanced cutting technology. Both the Select 700 and Select 500 are available in 38, 44 and 47 mm lengths in a natural wood-grain finish.
Nomacorc also is in the early stages of research and development for a tool that will analyze and determine the ideal closure for a wine based on factors such as varietal and desired shelf life.

“The vision for this capability is to employ the findings of our extensive research and further support winemaker intention by identifying the best Nomacorc closure for an individual wine,” said Dr. Stéphane Vidal, global director of enology for Nomacorc. “This tool will provide winemakers with even more control over bringing their winemaker vision to life.”

The Select Series is backed by the Nomacorc Winemaker Promise, a commitment to consistent oxygen control, total protection from cork taint and the highest degree of quality assurance.

Representatives from Nomacorc will showcase the Select Series at the Unified Symposium, held at the Sacramento Convention Center, at booth 1010. Nomacorc will conduct daily drawings at its booth and award prizes to trade show attendees who participate in its “Have you been Selected?” challenge.

The following video contains more information about the Select Series: http://bit.ly/glksP9.

About Nomacorc
Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, Austria and China, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit www.nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter and Facebook.

Contacts: Katie Myers
Richards Partners for Nomacorc
214-891-5842
katie_myers@richards.com
Jodi Phillip
214-891-5883
jodi_phillip@richards.com


New Closure Released: Offers Perfect Oxygen Management

Nomacorc has unveiled its latest product a stopper allowing the lowest-possible oxygen transfer rate. The synthetic stopper manufacturer, which produces 2.1bn closures annually, representing about 12% of the 18bn still wine closure market, claims its extruded plastic closures now offer perfect oxygen management.


Nomacorc

Four years ago we started a research programme to understand how oxygen ingress through the closure affected the development of wine in the bottle, Malcolm Thompson, global vice president of marketing and innovation told Decanter.com.

Nomacorcs research partners include the Geisenheim Intitute, University of California Davis, the Australian Wine Research Institute, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique at Montpellier (INRA), and the Centro de Aromas of the Catholic University of Chile.

Research programmes include the effect of oxygen on development of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and other grape varieties.

We now have sufficient data to go forward with our vision to introduce a line of closures that allow wines to develop exactly as the winemaker intended,' Thompson said.
The Select Series 300, Nomacorc claims, allows oxygen ingress of 0.002cc of oxygen per day to enter the bottle. The Select 700 and 500 are more porous, allowing 0.0042cc and 0.003cc of oxygen into the bottle.

Nomacorc stresses that its closures dont mimic natural cork, because natural cork is inconsistent, Thompson says.
By contrast, Nomacorc can control wine development through oxygen management with a great degree of exactitude, Thompon said.
We can determine which closure will allow the right level of development by type of wine, by varietal, by region, phenolic ripeness, barrel age, whether the wine is aged on lees or not and many other factors.

He added, First and foremost our objective is to educate the market on the importance of oxygen management.

The Select Series is priced competitively with natural cork, Nomacorc says.

  • Malcolm Thompson has slammed the Sommelier Society of America for its endorsement of natural cork. The Society, America's oldest of its kind, has been widely reported as explicitly endorsing natural cork as 'the preferred closure for wine'. 'Why would they endorse something that causes double-digit faults in wine?' Thompson said. 'Isn't it about wine quality?'

Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion wine closures annually, 57% of the world's synthetic wine closures. The company is the second largest manufacturer of wine closures in the world and in 2009 shipped its 10 billionth wine closure.

Wineries, bottlers, distributors, and retailers in 40 countries, on six continents, including 30 of the 40 largest volume wineries and several of the largest retailers in the world choose Nomacorc to protect their wines.

 

Title Name Email Phone
VP Sales and Marketing Mark Coleman mcoleman@nomacorc.com
Sustainability & Wine Education Manager Don Huffman dhuffman@nomacorc.com
Marketing & Communications Manager Mel Cressman mcressman@nomacorc.com
Select Bio Series
Nomacorc has developed the world’s first zero carbon footprint wine closure, Select® Bio Series. In addition to being taint-free, consistent from bottle-to-bottle and offering different choices for the oxygen ingress into the ...

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

MISSION
Nomacorc is continuously implementing improvements in its operations and company culture to minimize impact on the environment. The company's intent is to ensure consistent, taint-free wine preservation by providing closures that embody the best possible combination of quality, performance and sustainability.


NEW PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS
BENCHMARKING
In 2007 Nomacorc retained an independent agency to conduct an audit of the carbon footprint of Nomacorc closures (calculated at 16 grams per CO2 equivalent) and in 2008 retained a recognized institute to conduct a complete lifecycle analysis (LCA) which provides a more detailed assessment of the environmental implications of Nomacorc's operations and insight into opportunities for further improvement.

The company's most recent product innovation, Nomacorc Classic+, launched in 2008, provides a 20% reduction in most environmental indicators compared to earlier Nomacorc products. In the first ten months of 2009 the shift to the Classic+ product resulted in a reduction of 1,872 tons of CO2 emissions (the equivalent of 4.5 million miles of driving an average U.S. car).

Since 2008, Nomacorc has collaborated with suppliers and distributors to increase the amount of raw materials and finished products that are shipped via intermodal transport. In the first ten months of 2009, this shift resulted in a reduction of 297 tons of CO2 emissions in the U.S. (the equivalent of removing 235 cars from U.S. highways). The company has also developed methods to increase the number of closures that can be shipped per load, lowering the total number of shipments required which in turn eliminated another 75 tons of CO2 emissions to date in 2009. The company also increased the amount of bulk shipments coming in and going out of the manufacturing facilities as well as reduced the weight of selected packaging materials.

RECYCLING OF PRODUCTS AND MATERIALSNearly all of the water used during manufacturing of Nomacorc closures is recycled or reclaimed and 100% of waste material created by the Nomacorc production process is recycled and converted to industrial products.


All Nomacorc closures are 100% recyclable with LDPE materials (US RIC 4). Because 90% of the environmental footprint of Nomacorc closures is due to raw materials used, every closure that is recycled has a corresponding 90% reduction in environmental impact. To facilitate higher rates of recycling of closures by consumers, wineries, and restaurants, in 2009 Nomacorc joined forces with TerraCycle®, a company which collects post consumer use materials across the United States and upcycles' the collected materials into unique products sold at major retailers. Nomacorc has also developed a retail partnership program which encourages major wine retailers to support the recycling effort by providing convenient locations for consumers to deposit their used closures. Almost 400,000 wine corks have been recycled in the first months of the program.

Nomacorc protects wine better than other types of cork or caps.

Nomacorc ensures ideal taste

  • Nomacorc eliminates the potential of moldy odors and off-flavors caused by cork taint, which is common in wines closed with natural cork
  • The advanced technology used to manufacture a Nomacorc creates highly consistent corks that protect wine and ensure it tastes the same from one bottle to the next
  • The unique outer skin of a Nomacorc creates a tight seal with the neck of the wine bottle and protects wine against leakage and damage from oxygen exposure
  • The inner foam core of a Nomacorc regulates oxygen flow to the wine and allows the wine to breathe properly, unlike other closure options
  • Nomacorc corks are easy to remove from the bottle as natural corks but don’t break and crumble into the wine

Nomacorc is a major global cork producer

  • We’re the second largest closure manufacturer in the world
  • One-third of all the bottles of wine sold in the United States are sealed with a co-extruded synthetic cork; One in five bottles in France and Germany are sealed with a Nomacorc
  • Nomacorc manufactures more than 2 billion corks a year; about 5 million corks are made each day; over 60 corks per second
  • Nomacorc manufactured 10 billion corks in its first ten years – enough to reach from Earth to the moon when placed end-to-end
  • In one year, Nomacorc made more than 2 billion corks at its U.S. plant, enough to circle the earth 2 times

Nomacorc cares about the environment

  • Nomacorcs are 100% recyclable
  • Nomacorc uses up to four times less energy in production than natural cork manufacturers
  • Nomacorc uses up to 200 times less water in production than natural cork manufacturers
  • Nomacorc partners with TerraCycle, a company which collects and “upcycles” corks and many other used packaging to create environmentally-responsible consumer products
  • Nomacorc eliminated 297 tons of CO2 emissions in the U.S. (the equivalent of removing 235 cars from U.S. highways) in the first ten months of 2009

QUALITY FROM BEGINNING TO END

At Nomacorc, quality is a mind-set that drives everything we do. We build thorough and measurable quality control criteria into every part of the production process, from the standards we set for raw materials used in our closures to the packaging we select and handling methods we employ to transport product to our customers. Quality control measurements of dimensional characteristics, mechanical performance, and sensory neutrality are performed during every stage of production, on every production lot, every day, in each of our facilities. Then, and only then, are Nomacorc closures deemed ready and able to serve their duty as guardians of the world’s finest wines.

For additional information regarding our quality materials click here!

Quality commitment

At Nomacorc, quality is a mind-set that drives everything we do. Thorough and measurable quality control criteria are built into every part of the production process, from the standards we set for raw materials used in our closures to the packaging we select and handling methods we employ to transport product to our customers.

"We strive to achieve 100% customer satisfaction by continuously improving all processes to consistently manufacture and sell the best still wine closure.”
–Lars von Kantzow, President & CEO Nomacorc

Quality Control Through Sensory Analytics

Nomacorc is committed to preserving the quality of our customers’ wines. The company has installed advanced sensory analytics laboratories in its North American, European, and Asian facilities. A large team of food science professionals and expertly trained sensory evaluators conduct over 15,000 aroma and flavor evaluations of closures and wine each year, working closely with our customers to ensure that Nomacorc closures deliver the sensory and preservation performance appropriate for each wine.

 

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