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Newsletter #4, October 2006

Corks submerged in wine for testing in Apcor's lab facilities

International Wine Challenge Shows That Reductive Qualities Are As Much an Issue with Screw Cap Closures as TCA Taint Is with Cork Stoppers
This year’s International Wine Challenge in London, England sparked a series of articles when the results of the detected faults within the wines were released. This year the IWC modified its classification structure for the 13,477 entries tasted, by breaking them down into the type of closure used along with the fault type.

With an overall fault rate of just over 7%, the IWC reported that wines closed with screw cap closures showed high-sulphide faults 2.2% of the time, which was just a shade lower than TCA-related faults that occurred 2.6% of the time – refuting the often-stated 5 - 10% rate for TCA-related faults.

Sam Harrop MW, the IWC chairman who compiled the fault data, said, “It’s quite alarming to find that some of the other faults that have been around in the past are almost as bad as cork taint. While we’ve been raving about cork taint, all these other issues have been ignored.” (Rosen and Holter, Off Licence News, Sept. 15, 2006)

“While we’ve been aware of and have been warning the industry of the reductive qualities imparted by the screw cap closure since the research results by Dr. Alan Limmer were reported, it is nice to see that non-cork agencies are starting to take a look at and report on this serious issue as well,” says Carla Silva of APCOR. “Wine consumers and wineries need to be educated that screw caps are not the perfect answer to sealing wines.”

The “My Favorite Moment with Real Cork” Contest Print Ad
The “My Favorite Moment with Real Cork” Contest Print Ad

Winners announced in the
“My Favorite Moment with Real Cork” Contest

In August, APCOR promoted a writing contest which requested that people share their favorite moments with real cork wine stoppers.

The response to this contest was outstanding, with stories coming from across the country.

“We were very pleased with the response to the contest,” says Carla Silva of APCOR. “Not only were we surprised by the number of entries, but all the stories were so well thought out and written, every one was a delight to read.”

Scored by a panel on the criteria of originality, personal vision, creativity, completeness, and appropriateness for representing natural cork products, the three winners of the contest were identified and have been notified.

First Prize: Shalom Stella – Las Vegas, NV Second Prize: Ina Pinkney – Chicago, IL Third Prize: Deborah Simeone-Franke – Chandler, AZ

Here is an excerpt from Shalom Stella’s story:

After a brief discussion of favorite wines, dinner was to include a bottle of 1961 Château Margaux. I located the prized bottle and wheeled it over on my decanting cart. Cutting away the foil, I exposed a cork that had been placed in the bottle around forty years ago. I extracted the cork and presented it to the host on a silver coaster. It was soiled with wine that had been waiting for just this occasion for four decades. I was elated to see the cork in outstanding condition, resilient yet soaked about halfway up and without any seepage.

A warm congratulation goes out to these three winners, and a hearty cheer and thanks goes out to everyone who submitted an entry.

The inspiring winners’ stories can be found in the “Links” section at www.realcorkusa.com

The interior of the Cork Supply Group's new cork production facility in Portugal.
The interior of the Cork Supply Group's new cork production facility in Portugal.

Investment in Facilities Demonstrates Cork Supply Group’s Commitment to Quality
The Cork Supply Group is investing over €2.8 million ($3.55 million U.S. dollars) to construct a new cork production facility and upgrade an existing cork preparatory facility in Portugal.

“Cork Supply is dedicated to providing the highest quality products, and investing in new cork processing facilities in Portugal is in keeping with this strategic goal,” said James Herwatt, CEO of Cork Supply USA. “Cork continues to be the preferred seal for premium wines, and by making this investment in quality, we’ll ensure that we continue to provide the wine industry with the quality natural corks they demand.”

Herwatt points out that in building new facilities the Group is discarding many old traditions that they’ve discovered through research have not always been beneficial in terms of enhancing quality. “This gives us the opportunity to build quality in from the ground up,” he said.

The new facility in northern Portugal, expected to be completed in March of 2007, will be 155,000 sq. ft. in area. Upgrades and new equipment for a preparatory facility in the Montijo region of Portugal is expected to take a little over a year to complete.

cork particles

Yemm and Hart offers cork recycling within the United States
Since 2004, Yemm and Hart Green Materials has been conducting an experimental recycling program to look at the viability of recycling used cork stoppers into other cork products. This program was started after research into the options for recycling cork within the United States, showed that there were no programs available.

Being in the business of recycling and converting used materials, such as milk jugs into counter tops and tires into flooring, Yemm and Hart decided to research how to recycle cork stoppers using some of the existing processes that it currently utilizes.

Aiming to collect an initial 1,000 pounds of cork, it will require roughly 133,333 wine corks to meet its goal. Once the goal is met, Yemm and Hart will process the cork stoppers into blocks from which sheets of cork, of different thicknesses, may be cut to create floor tiles.

Yemm and Hart requires that all donations be mailed prepaid, but plan to compensate donors for their expense and troubles by building into the business plan a "per cork" discounted rate at which to offer its recycled cork products back to donors.

While still in its infancy, the program is being well received by the public and media, with about 20 pounds of cork coming in daily.

“Almost half of all packages we receive contain notes on which the sender has written their words of thanks, words of encouragement or personal stories about how their cork collection began,” said Stephen W. Yemm. “Also, during the sorting process, the smell is wonderful.”

Send your wine and Champagne cork stoppers prepaid to Yemm & Hart via UPS or USPS:
Wine Cork Recycling
Yemm & Hart Ltd
610 South Chamber Dr
Fredericktown, MO 63645

corks on an assembly line

Ontario Girl Guides have recycled close to 4 metric tonnes of natural cork bottle stoppers to date!
In an effort to keep the earth a bit greener, while raising awareness of the environment and funds to support the Girl Guides of Ontario, the Girl Guides have successfully collected and recycled close to 4 metric tonnes of natural cork stoppers. The Girl Guides of Canada, Ontario Council was inaugurated in 1921 and makes a positive difference in the life of every girl and woman who experiences Guiding so she can contribute responsibly to her community. The Girl Guides of Canada challenges members in their personal development and empowers them to be responsible citizens.

With most of the collection sites within the Toronto and Ottawa areas, a few hundred Guiding members, from ages 5 to over 75, have been involved in the collection and sorting of all these corks. Aiming to double their collection sites, up to 400 sites by the end of 2007, this program has been very well received.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of cork will be made available on a grant system to Guiding member units and will be known as the C.O.R.K. fund (Creating Opportunities for Resourceful Kids!). Units that participate in our Adopt a Bin challenge will be eligible to apply for a grant of up to $250 to initiate their very own environmental stewardship project locally.

Donation bin locations can be found by going to www.bag-a-cork.org/Binlocator.asp

For additional information on the program, please contact gaindn@guidesontario.org or go to www.bag-a-cork.org


Brought to you by Apcor—The Portugese Cork Association