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  • Nielsen study confirms the superior performance of cork-sealed wines

    A 2018 study produced by Nielsen for the Professionals du Liège confirmed that cork-sealed wines dominate the French wine market in terms of value and volume and bring clear added value to wines, especially in the “Premium” and “Super Premium” segments, when compared to artificial closures.

    The study concentrated on the top-selling wines in the “Premium” and “Super Premium” segments in French hypermarkets and supermarkets, with average retail prices between €5 and €15.

    Data was compiled for the period between March 2017 and March 2018.
    The key findings included the following:

    - Cork-sealed wines occupied 86.3% and 84.4% of sales, in value and volume terms respectively, with a 98.5% share for red wines.

    - Cork-sealed wines commanded a price premium of €1.87 in these two segments, compared to wines sealed with artificial closures.

    - All wines priced above €8 were sealed with cork.

    French retail chains are increasingly insistent on stocking cork-sealed wines, due to quality and environmental considerations. 

    A recent example is the declaration by France’s leading retail chain, the Auchan group, that it aims to ensure that over the medium term all wines bearing its distribution label will be cork-sealed (see next article).

  • Research highlights the negative carbon footprint of Amorim’s Neutrocork®


    At a time when protecting the environment is more important than ever, consumers increasingly prefer cork stoppers because of their impeccable sustainability credentials, in addition to their superior technical capacities in terms of safeguarding the quality of wines. A September 2018 study produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers for Amorim & Irmãos confirmed that Amorim’s rigorous production control system guarantees excellent quality and a negative carbon footprint for its Neutrocork stoppers - a latest generation technical stopper which guarantees great structural stability.

    The Neutrocork stopper is recommended for wines with a certain complexity and has been embraced by thousands of winemakers around the world.

    To produce Neutrocork stoppers, natural cork is sourced from cork oak forests and then sorted, boiled, ground, and treated using Amorim’s proprietary ROSA® system. The uniform-sized micro cork granule composition is then pressed into individual moulds. The 2018 PwC study adopted a Business to Business (Cradle to Gate) approach in which it calculated the carbon footprint until conclusion of the production process and distribution of stoppers to the UK.

    The study’s main conclusions included the fact that the Neutrocork stopper has a positive carbon footprint - -342 kg CO2 per ton of product, corresponding to -1.8 kg CO2 per 1000 stoppers (i.e. -1.8 g CO2 per stopper).

    Furthermore since production of Neutrocork stopper is integrated within the overall cork production chain, the PwC study considered the carbon sequestration of the cork oak forest associated to cork production, delivering an even higher result - corresponding to a total of -73,342 kg CO2 per ton of product -392 kg CO2 per 1000 stoppers (-392 g CO2 per stopper).

    The methodology used in the study was life cycle analysis (LCA) based on the guidelines of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG), developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute.

    The survey was carried out taking into consideration ISO 14040 series of standards and PAS 2050: 2008 “Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services”.

    The production stages encompassed within the Cradle to Gate methodology involved four business units of Corticeira Amorim - Amorim Florestal, Equipar, Amorim & Irmãos (De Sousa), and Amorim Distribuição.

    The emissions measured in kg CO2/ton for each product were estimated using multiple data analysis sources.

    The study noted that a key factor in ensuring a negative carbon footprint is the fact that the cork oak forest is a carbon sink, responsible for retaining -73 tons of CO2 per ton of cork produced, as confirmed in a recent study by the University of Aveiro (Study of the Department of Environment and Planning and the Centre for the Study of the Environment and the Sea (available at:

    PwC previously produced studies of the carbon footprint of every Corticeira Amorim Business Unit (BU), independently verified by Deloitte, which concluded that Amorim’s business activity results in carbon sequestration of more than 2 million tons per year - more than 15 times the amount of greenhouse gas emitted across its entire value chain.

    Corticeira Amorim has been committed to a Circular Economy strategy since 1963 when an industrial unit for the production of cork grains and agglomerates was formed with the objective of transforming 70% of the waste generated from the manufacture of cork stoppers.

    The independently confirmed negative carbon footprint of Neutrocork is aligned with Amorim’s wider strategy to promote cork as one of the world’s most amazing and sustainable natural products.

  • António Amorim wins the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2018

    The main category of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2018, an initiative that in Portugal is organized by E&Y/ Expresso, was attributed to António Rios de Amorim, Chairman and CEO of Corticeira Amorim, at a ceremony held yesterday in the Convent of Beato, Lisbon, attended by some of Portugal's leading personalities. Originally created by Ernst & Young in the United States in 1986, and now holding its 7th edition in Portugal, the award distinguishes outstanding figures from the business sector, on the basis of criteria such as creativity, business vision and career achievements.

    Upon being named "Entrepreneur of the Year", António Amorim congratulated the other nominees - João Mirada, Luís Miguel Sousa, Luís Moura e Silva, Mário Ferreira, Nuno Sebastião and Rui Miguel Nabeiro/Manuel Rui Nabeiro - revealing that "It was a pleasure and an honour to share this nomination with so many distinguished people, who are outstanding entrepreneurs and have achieved so much for Portugal."

    He dedicated the award to Corticeira Amorim’s 4000 employees, across more than 35 countries who work "every day, with commitment, dedication, effort and passion, to help export a classic product Portuguese product - cork - to over 100 countries around the world. That's one of the biggest reasons for my pride."

    António Amorim also stated that he would like to share the distinction with Américo Amorim, who "is no longer with us today, but who will be up there looking down on us, undoubtedly extremely proud that the company is receiving this award."

    Corticeira Amorim’s Chairman will represent Portugal in the international final, held in Monte Carlo in June, alongside over 50 winners from around the globe.

  • Helix adopted by award-winning Spanish wine producer, Neleman.

    Amorim’s revolutionary twist-to-open Helix cork stopper has been adopted by award-winning Spanish wine producer, Neleman.

    Neleman has turned heads with its bold branding strategies, based on eye-catching packaging and the company’s wines have won awards at prestigious competitions, such as Decanter and IWSC, and are currently sold in eight European countries.

    Neleman have chosen the ground-breaking Helix packaging solution for its Pink Glasses wine, which has been embraced by wine lovers and design blogs. such as Packaging of the World, The Dieline, Lovely Package and trendhunter.

    Pink Glasses was shown at the ‘Packaging Innovation Showcase Scanpack’ in Götenborg and officially recommended by the Polish Institute of Industrial Design in the competition for the best designed products and services on the Polish market.

    Helix has been developed by the world’s leading cork and glass packaging producers - Amorim and Owens-Illinois (O-I) - and combines an ergonomically-designed cork stopper with a glass bottle with an internal thread.

    As a reusable stopper, based on sustainable products – glass and cork – Helix ties in perfectly with Neleman’s DNA. All of Neleman’s wines are certified organic, vegan friendly and carbon neutral and products are all shipped in a sustainable manner. In the Netherlands, the wines are even carried on bicycles whenever possible!

    Helix means that consumers can enjoy the company’s wines anywhere – in picnics or at the beach – without the need for a corkscrew, and easily reseal the bottle. All with the natural benefits of cork.

    ‘We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and the drinking experience,’ says Derrick Neleman. ‘We want to surprise wine lovers and we pay extra attention to the design, that way it’s more fun to buy and drink wine.’

    Hailed as one of the greatest wine packaging innovations of the twenty-first century, Helix is already available across four continents, with more than two dozen brands using this pioneering product – in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, South Africa and the U.S..

    Helix has so far garnered seven major international awards, including the “New
    Technology” prize in the Innovation Challenge Lucio Mastro-Berardino awards, in Milan, Packaging Oscars in Paris and Milan and Best Green Launch, in the 2015 Green Awards of the London magazine, Drinks Business.

  • North Americans prefer cork stoppers

    Recent market research conducted in the USA and Canada provides further confirmation that cork is the preferred wine stopper for consumers, who are willing to pay a significant premium for cork-finished wines.

    The preference for cork delivers a major difference in terms of the sales potential of wines.

    According to recent data on the US market disclosed by Nielsen Scanning Statistics, for the Top 100 Premium Wine Brands during the 6-year period between June 2010 and June 2016, cork finished wines have enjoyed a 42% increase in sales compared to a 13% increase for wines using alternative closures.

    Over the last six years brands finished with cork have enjoyed more robust sales growth than brands finished with alternatives closures and the number of top brands using cork closures is increasing.

    Cork-finished wines retail at a significant price premium. Amongst the top 100 Premium Brands the median sales price for cork finished wines, was $13.56 – which is $3.80 (+39%) higher than the median price of wines sealed with alternative closures.

    A separate study for the Canadian market, published in July, 2016 by the American Association of Wine Economists, “Importance of eco-logo and closure type on consumer expectations, price perception and willingness to purchase wines in Canada” indicated that cork finished wines are preferred by Canadian consumers, who are willing to pay CAN$1.69 and CAN$1.29 more for wines sealed with natural corks compared to those sealed with synthetic or screw cap closures, respectively.

    The study highlights the fact that for consumers the type of stopper is perceived as a key indicator of both a wine’s quality and also influences perception of its eco-friendliness and thus has a major impact on purchase decisions.

    Furthermore, the study revealed that eco- conscious consumers pay significantly greater attention to the use of natural cork stoppers than any other environmental friendly claims, including the presence of eco-logos on the wine label.

    Further analysis on recent trends in the North American wine industry is provided in an article published in February, 2016 in The Atlantic magazine, entitled “How Millennials (Almost) Killed the Wine Cork”.

    The article suggests that Millenials (i.e. persons born after the mid-1980s) were initially keen to try out alternative closures, as part of a wider attraction to try out new trends, but have now shifted strongly back in favour of cork, in particular due to its quality and sustainability credentials.

    The article clarifies that key factors explaining the progressive appeal of cork amongst all wine consumers, including Millenials, are the rigorous quality control measures that have been adopted in the cork industry, delivering a 95 percent reduction in TCA since 2001 according to tests conducted by the Cork Quality Council, and growing awareness of cork’s multiple environmental benefits.

    These findings for the North American market confirm recent market research that has consistently shown that over 85% of wine consumers in other key world markets - such as France, China, Italy and Spain – overwhelmingly prefer cork, which is valued as a guarantee of quality, a natural and environmentally friendly closure, and an integral part of the wine and spirits experience.

  • NDtech wins two major Innovation Awards

    Amorim’s ground-breaking NDtech individualized cork stopper screening service, that offers the world’s first natural cork with a non-detectable TCA guarantee* has won two major Innovation Awards.

    In Vinitech Sifel’s 2016 Innovation Awards (Vine and Wine category), NDtech has won the prestigious Gold Award. The award jury presidents, Jean-Luc Berger and Pierre Gaillard, highlighted the fact that NDtech is the latest and most advanced technology in the combat to eliminate TCA and is playing a key role in improving the quality of wines.

    The award ceremony will be held on 30 November, during Vinitech Sifel (29 Nov. - 1 Dec.) - the bi-annual international trade show for the wine, fruit and vegetable production sectors, that places a special focus on highlighting new innovations in the sector.

    The Vinitech-Sifel Innovation Awards profile new products, processes and technologies that are defining the future of viticulture and winemaking and fruit and vegetable production. The awards include a special jury prize, 2 gold awards, 3 silver awards, 4 bronze awards and 11 special mentions.

    NDtech has also won a Silver Medal in the Filling and packaging technology category of the Innovation Awards of the bi-annual Intervitis Interfructa Hortitechnica, the international technology trade fair for wine, juice and special crops.

    The Innovation Awards are attributed by the German Winegrowers’ Association in cooperation with DLG (German Agricultural Society) for technical processes, systems, products or services.

    The international jury emphasized the fact that NDtech is a considerable improvement on previous methods. The award will be presented to Amorim Cork Germany during the trade fair, that runs 27-30 November 2016.

    NDtech is the fruit of Amorim’s long-term commitment to supporting innovation and research in the wine packaging sector. The solution is already available in 6 countries and is being applied to Amorim’s top-end natural cork stoppers used by some of the world’s most valuable wine brands.

    The Vinitech-Sifel Innovation Awards profile new products, processes and technologies that are defining the future of viticulture and winemaking and fruit and vegetable production.

  • Helix enters the US wine market with Bronco

    California’s Bronco Wine Company, the fourth larg- est US wine producer, is the first American winery to adopt the innovative twist-to-open Helix packaging solution, developed through a partnership between the world leaders of the cork and glass packaging industries - Amorim and O-I.

    Bronco’s range of Red Truck wines will henceforth be sealed with Helix stoppers, that offer the full advantages of cork, including the hallmark “popping” sound, while dispensing with the need for a corkscrew.

    Fred Franzia, Bronco’s CEO, says that he is delighted by this new development: “Wine consumers in America have a growing understanding of the role quality cork and quality wine play in delivering their wine in a sustainable but yet premium format. At Bronco, we have been doing exactly that for many years, but with Helix and Red Truck, the US market will now have access to all that plus the convenience of an easy-opening and easy-to-reclose bottle. We
    are proud at Bronco to be the first winery in America to deliver this incredible innovation”.

    Helix is the fruit of a €5 million R&D investment, combining a glass bottle with an internal thread finish and an ergonomically-designed cork.
    The Helix solution - hailed as one of the greatest wine packaging innovations of the twenty- first century - has so far garnered seven major international awards, including the “New Technology” prize in the Innovation Challenge Lucio Mastro- Berardino awards, in Milan, Packaging Oscars in Paris and Milan and Best Green Launch, in the 2015 Green Awards of the London magazine, Drinks Business.

    Helix is available across 4 continents, with more than two dozen brands already using this revolutionary product – in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and South Africa.

    Antonio Amorim, the Chairman of Amorim Cork, reveals that it he is particularly expectant to see Helix launched in the US market – the world’s largest wine market: “Fred Franzia’s has been an innovator for decades now and Bronco’s leadership is again
    at display with Red Truck bringing to US consumer the most sustainable, technologically-advanced wine packaging innovation this side of the 21th Century. Knowing Fred’s unique understanding of consumers’ preferences, we are certain that other wines under Helix will ensue, enlarging Bronco’s offering of convenient yet 100% sustainable packaging.”

    Andres Lopez, CEO of O-I echoed this sense of profound satisfaction: “Wine and quality packaging are intrinsically connected and, as world leaders in our respective fields, Amorim and O-I understand their roles in delivering what winemakers, wine retailers and wine consumers want. Helix and Red Truck bring to the US a user-friendly, natural and sustainable packaging materials solution that enables wine producers to meet consumer preferences across a broader range of price points.”

  • Amorim launches world's first whole natural corks with proven non-detectable TCA guarantee

    Amorim has achieved a major technological breakthrough to become the world’s first cork producer to deliver natural cork stoppers to winemakers in six countries with a non-detectable TCA guarantee*, using cutting-edge technology that has not only been successfully trialed, but which is also being independently validated on performance.

    Known as NDtech, the state-of-the-art system further strengthens Amorim’s quality control measures by screening individual cork stoppers on the production line to eliminate the risk of any natural whole cork contaminated with releasable TCA reaching winemakers.

    “Until now, no cork producer has been able to guarantee an automated quality control system for natural cork stoppers that screens corks individually,” said Amorim’s research and development director Dr Miguel Cabral.

    “We have been working to achieve this goal for several years. Now we can examine an individual cork using sophisticated gas chromatography in just seconds, making the technology practical on a major industrial scale. We already have machines in use on the production floor that are delivering this guarantee to the first of our discerning customers.

    Two of the world’s leading wine industry research facilities — Hochschule Geisenheim University and The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) — have been engaged to independently validate the performance of NDtech.

    “The fact that Amorim’s NDtech is the only individual screening technology undergoing a double, scientific validation underlines the magnitude of this technological breakthrough.” said Cabral.

    Previously, gas chromatography examination took up to 14 minutes, making it impossible to use on production lines. Instead, Amorim applies the technology in laboratory-controlled batch testing as part of its quality control measures for the 4.2 billion corks it produces each year — and at the same time worked to improve the technology so it could be used in production.

    The development of the super-fast NDtech follows a five-year €10 million research and development investment by Amorim and a partnership with a British company specialising in gas chromatography.

    With incredibly high precision, NDtech can detect any cork with more than 0.5 nanograms of TCA per litre (parts per trillion). These corks are removed from the production line automatically.

    The level of precision necessary to meet this standard on an industrial scale for 100 per cent of the corks examined is astounding, especially given that the detection threshold of 0.5 nanograms/litre is the equivalent of one drop of water in 800 Olympic-size swimming pools.

    NDtech is complemented by Amorim’s existing preventive, curative and quality control measures, including the patented ROSA Evolution treatment used during production.

    As the world’s leading cork producer, Amorim has stood at the forefront of the fight against TCA — a naturally forming chemical compound that is a problem throughout the packaged food and beverage industries — with the application of rigorous production standards and certified quality control methods.

    “Amorim has experienced phenomenal growth in demand for cork stoppers over the past five years with annual sales increasing from 3 billion units to more than 4 billion,” said Amorim’s chairman and CEO António Amorim.

    “This is due, in part, to increasing awareness of cork’s environmental and technical advantages and acknowledgement of the added value that a quality natural cork closure brings to bottled wine.

    “Now, with NDtech, we have made the world’s best wine stopper even better.”

    NDtech is initially being applied to Amorim’s top-end natural cork stoppers used to close some of the world’s most valuable wine brands.

    “The response from winemakers has been as positive as we had anticipated, especially given the important role that premium packaging has for wine exports to crucial markets such as the US and China,” said Carlos de Jesus Amorim’s Head of Marketing & Communications. “Wineries in France, US, Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal have already taken delivery of our NDtech checked corks.”

    “The introduction of NDtech after several years of development again highlights Amorim’s tenacious commitment to building continually on its well-established and industry-leading quality control measures.”

    * A non-detectable TCA guarantee means that if any TCA remains in a cork it is below the detection threshold of 0.5 nanograms/litre.