Gabriela Origlia FOR LA NACION
Wine stoppers, from Argentina to the world
One in seven bottles of wine worldwide and three out of ten in Argentina have stoppers manufactured by Vinventions, company specializing in closure solutions for the wine industry. It is the second largest supplier of closures worldwide and in the country, it has its plant in San Juan and its offices in Mendoza, employing 70 people and exporting 12% of what it produces, yet the plan is to reach 30%.
Founded by Marc Noël (creator of Nomacorc, a synthetic cork producer) and currently owned by the Noël Group and L-GAM, a Luxembourg investment company. It has seven production centers around the world: United States, Belgium, Germany, France, South Africa, China and Argentina, employing a total of 600 people.
The Argentine facilities are making an investment of US $ 1.5 million that, from the mid-year, will allow for the expansion of its production by 30% to become a stopper supplier for the entire South American region. Currently, Uruguay is the main market served by the company, but Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Bolivia will be added until external shipments represent 30% of the total.
Argentina is the largest wine producer in South America with about 1 billion bottles per year compared to the 700 million produced in Chile during the same period.
Andrés Belinsky, General Manager of Vinventions South America, explains that the company began selling in Argentina in 2010 from a distributor with products that came from the United States. Three years later, it begins with the last stage of manufacturing since the company considered it was key to have an industry due to the important expansion of the wine sector in the region. In 2015, the machinery for the entire production process was set up and an average of 300 million stoppers are manufactured per year.
“We have been growing at double digits per year and in the last three years we’ve been the plant that evolved the most”, Belinsky asserts. We are expanding our production capacity, but since rapid growth catches up, we use all our capacity just to serve the Argentine market. That is why Chile and Peru are still being supplied from the United States and we supply Uruguay from Argentina”.
Faced with this scenario, the expansion of production capacity was addressed to serve all South American markets from San Juan: “The profitability and competitiveness that we can achieve from Argentina is greater than from the United States, with shorter delivery time and better customer service”, he assures.
Our goal is to achieve an equation of 70% for the domestic market and 30% for the foreign”. Argentina is the largest wine producer in South America with about 1 billion bottles per year compared to the 700 million produced in Chile during the same period.
The quality of wine stoppers has evolved in recent years; in 1999 the company made them polyethylene synthetics, which implied an improvement over cork agglomerates that had mechanical and sensory problems. It was an option for high-end wines to better preserve oxygenation and not contaminate them with unwanted flavors. In 2012, the company added stoppers for Premium wines with non-fossil materials: biopolyethylene of vegetable origin. For three years that entire range has used this type of closure system based on sugar cane. In the lower lines, a mix is used.
Belinsky emphasizes that all the stoppers they manufacture are recyclable and that there are already some with zero carbon footprint. “Another path in which we are advancing is in increasing the use of recycled raw material, we seek to reuse and achieve an infinite life cycle”, he explains.
With these different alternatives, Vinventions offers four brands: Nomacorc (high-tech synthetic stoppers whose main the raw material is a bio-polyethylene derived from sugar cane); Sübr (combines natural cork particles and a binder of biodegradable plant origin -currently only marketed in Europe); Vintop (screw caps) and Wine Quality Solutions (measurement and control devices for the oenological process).
The company has an oenological research center in France where the study of the behavior of wine in its oenological and post-bottling process is studied in depth. With 15 years of research, they have extensive experience in the management of oxygen and polyphenols, which allows them to collaborate with winemakers and producers to manage the life cycle of wine.