News - Four international retailers promote cork to consumers in the UK, Continental Europe and the US.

Four international retailers promote cork to consumers in the UK, Continental Europe and the US

Consumers' worldwide preference for cork stoppers, as confirmed by market research studies and scientific research, has prompted four top retailers in the US, UK and France to become involved in initiatives that highlight the value of cork stoppers versus artificial closures.

Cork is now clearly the closure of choice for many top retail chains, who have launched educational and promotional initiatives that highlight the sustainability and quality credentials of cork and thereby boost sales.

This is of decisive importance for winemakers given that in many markets the vast majority of wines are sold through mass market retail chains.

In the US, one of the country’s leading retailers in this segment, Fairway Wines & Spirits, is conducting a 2-month in-store educational campaign in the New York metropolitan area (see article) as well as promoting collection of used wine corks as part of ReCork, the largest cork stopper recycling programme in the United States.

In the UK, Britain’s oldest wine merchant - Berry Bros. & Rudd - is the first UK retailer to supply wines sealed with the ground-breaking twist-and-pop Helix cork stopper (see article).

Katherine Dart MW, wine buyer at Berry Bros. & Rudd comments “While Berry Bros. & Rudd may be the UK’s oldest wine & spirits merchant, we are always keen to embrace the latest trends and innovations…[Helix guarantees] the all-important cork-out-the-bottle ‘pop’”

The Co-op retail chain is the first UK high-street supermarket to retail a Helix-sealed wine - Vila Real Rabelo Red 2015 (see article).

Sarah Benson, Co-op’s wine buyer, remarked: “Customers are already really loving the new wine and it is currently our third biggest seller in the range.”

In France, retail chain Auchan recently conducted an ambitious campaign to collect and recycle cork stoppers, one of the largest ever undertaken in this field, with stopper collection points in 641 stores throughout France (see article).

Auchan has stated that over the medium-term it plans to ensure that all wines bearing its distribution label will be cork-sealed, due to the fact that cork is a high-quality and 100% natural product, valued by consumers.

Cork-sealed wines are stocked on retailers’ shelves around the world, given that it estimated that 70% of the world’s wines are sealed with cork stoppers.

Major in-store cork-related campaigns and educational initiatives are a more recent development and are likely to further consolidate cork’s global presence in the expanding worldwide wine and spirits market.

USA

Fairway Wines & Spirits promotes cork

Fairway Wines & Spirits, one of the leading wine and spirits stores in the United States, is conducting a 2-month in-store awareness campaign throughout the New York metropolitan area, culminating on National Recycling Day on November 15. The initiative has been created within the context of the international promotion campaign Intercork, organised by the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR), which highlights the environmental and quality benefits of cork and cork stoppers.

“Cork is biodegradable, sustainable and recyclable,” explains Angelo Martelli, Director of Wine for Fairway Wines & Spirits. “We know our consumers value products that are eco-friendly. We want them to know that it's important to us too, which is why we are supporting this new educational campaign. Our goal is to educate consumers about cork's positive impact on the environment, and on the development and ageing of the wine itself.”

“For these reasons, the history of wine and cork are intertwined”, adds Martelli. Cork remains today the stopper of choice for over 70% of the world’s wines, including the vast majority of the world’s best wines.” 

Several initiatives are planned, ranging from signage and banners to the provision of cork recycling bins, weekly wine tests,‘upcycled’ cork prizes and giveaways, and neck hangers on select California wines, identifying them as having cork closures.

Consumers will be able to take the cork stoppers to the four Fairway Wines & Spirits stores, from where they will be recycled as part of ReCork, the largest cork stopper recycling programme in the United States. This programme recycles cork for a wide variety of eco-friendly products  - such as yoga blocks or flip flops. Recycled cork stoppers will also be donated to the Darien Nature Center, a non-profit NGO, that will use these resources to fund animal welfare and various environmental projects.

UK

Co-op launches new Helix-sealed wine

UK high-street supermarket chain, the Co-op, has launched the Helix-sealed Vila Real Rabelo Red 2015.

This is the first time that the innovative twist-and-pop stopper is available at a UK supermarket and experts believe it could further reinforce UK consumer interest in cork-sealed wines.

The Co-op is one of the world's largest consumer co-operative federations and includes over 5500 branches of 'Co-op' branded businesses in the UK.

Co-op collaborated with Corticeira Amorim and Portuguese winery Adega Vila Real to launch the wine which will retail at £6 and is available throughout the UK.

Wine traditionalists tend to prefer to buy cork-sealed wines because of their superior ageing properties and the pleasing ‘pop’ sound, which a 2017 Oxford University study confirmed is far more appealing to consumers than the metallic click of a screwcap.

Sarah Benson, Co-op wine buyer, commented that the wine “is currently our third biggest seller in the range. This is a modern twist on the traditional cork closure which has been used for hundreds of years to help age and store wine. It’s an exciting development for shoppers that prefer to buy wine with a cork.”

The Co-op’s launch of a Helix-sealed wine has caught the attention of the UK national media, including an article in the Daily Mail entitled “So that’s what they meant by corkscrew!” by Sean Poulter, who noted this important “twist in the tale”, adding:  “The Helix cork combines the tradition of cork and the convenience of screw cap - and means a bottle of wine can be easily resealed.”

UK

Helix is adopted by Britain’s oldest wine merchant - Berry Bros. & Rudd

The UK is the latest country to adopt Helix’s “unexpected twist”

300-year old Berry Bros. & Rudd is the first UK retailer to supply wines available in resealable cork bottles.

The London wine and spirits merchant currently is retailing two Helix-sealed wines from South Africa - Anthonij Rupert Protea Sauvignon Blanc 75cl and Anthonij Rupert Protea Chardonnay 75cl.

In 2018 Helix-sealed Anthonij Rupert Protea Shiraz wines have also been served on-board Virgin Atlantic Airways flights.

Katherine Dart MW, wine buyer at Berry Bros. & Rudd comments “The ergonomically-designed cork together with threads inside the bottle neck ensure an airtight seal and enable effortless opening with a light twist.  The bottle is resealable but unlike the screwcap, you still get the all-important cork-out-the-bottle ‘pop’ and it’s also great for reusing and upcycling for anything from water to olive oil.”

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..

FRANCE

Corticeira Amorim and the Auchan group promote a joint cork stopper recycling initiative

Corticeira Amorim and the French retail chain, Auchan recently conducted an ambitious campaign to collect and recycle cork stoppers, one of the largest ever undertaken in this field. 

Between September 21 and October 9, 641 Auchan stores in France provided wine cork collection points during the summer and also as part of the retail chain’s annual Autumn Wine Fair from September 21 to October 9.

The campaign poster emphasised the importance of the circular economy, stating “give cork a second lease of life!”.

Given the unique sustainability credentials of cork, a 100% natural product, Auchan stated that over the medium-term it plans to ensure that all wines bearing its distribution label will be cork-sealed.  

At the end of the Autumn Wine Fair, corks were delivered to Amorim France, which through its EcoBouchon programme is responsible for recycling used cork stoppers in France.

For each ton of wine corks collected, Corticeira Amorim and Auchan Retail France undertake to make a donation to a charity.

Since its launch in 2010, Amorim France's Ecobouchon programme has collected and recycled over 1,000 tons of cork stoppers and has funded numerous associations.