Choosing the right closure system is essential to guarantee the durability of the wine in
each bottle. Today, it is not enough to think of the highest quality. The sustainability of
the wine closures became an essential condition in determining this decision.
Within the range of options currently on the market for wine closures solutions, there
are stoppers all types. Beyond whether they are natural or synthetic, the commitment
towards sustainability as regards this fundamental wine input has a stronger weight.
Andrés Belinsky, General Manager at Vinventions South America, a leading company
in wine closure solutions that currently covers one out of every seven bottles of wine
worldwide, confesses that sustainability “is one of the fundamental pillars and that its
purpose is, on the one hand, to take care of the wine implementing high technology
and performance stoppers and, on the other hand, to make a positive impact on the
environment. For this reason, we understand sustainability from the triple impact:
caring for the Earth, promoting well-being in our communities and owning an
economically sustainable business”.
And of course, for the wineries, the choice of the stopper that will crown and will be
the faithful guardian of their products is a quite important decision. According to
Celina Bartolomé, who is in charge of communication and sales for Pielihueso Winery
(a low-intervention winemaker in Los Chacayes, Valle de Uco, Mendoza), the concept
of sustainability “involves everything we do and that is why we want everything that
makes up the product to follow the same rule: from the bottle that and the stopper
that we choose to how we work the vineyard. Sustainability does not just involve the
agriculture or logistics steps; it also includes the inputs used in the industry. It is a
comprehensive vision to take care of the impact we generate on Earth and in the
How is the selection process of each stopper carried out for each wine label? Santiago
Degasperi, winemaker of Nakkal Wines, the Uruguayan project (wine elaboration with
minimal intervention) that has been recently chosen as a revelation winery by the
Descorchados Guide of Chilean Patricio Tapia, explains that “except for the Pet Nats,
where we use stainless steel crown stoppers, we close all our wines with Nomacorc
Select Green. We believe that it is extremely important that our wines have an
excellent quality stopper, which guarantees the optimal conservation of the wines, but
also has a positive impact on the environment”. Regarding the importance of the
closure system, he adds that “it is very important because the stopper is the last
decisive link on the chain between the production of wine and its arrival to consumers.
Furthermore, for us, it is part of the communication and philosophy that we want to
transmit with what we do.
Nora Figueras, Commercial Manager for the internal and external market of Bodega
Familia Cecchin (producer of organic and natural wines in Mendoza), says that each
stopper is chosen according to the rotation and storage period of each wine and
remarks that this decisive moment is “essential since the closure ensures the
preservation of the wines in the state in which they are bottled”.
That is why the choice of sustainable stoppers is added to “the basis of our work
philosophy from the moment the project starts, together with the organic practices
and the maintenance of the ecosystem of the winery and the vineyards. On a day-to-
day basis, we are committed to only using vegetable stoppers in our closures, as well
as to implementing waste management policies such as compost and reusability,
But what are we talking about when we talk about sustainable stoppers?
Belinsky from Vinventions South America explains that the greatest commitment in
terms of products is to have a portfolio of fully sustainable wine closures. “This means
that we are committed to ensuring that, by 2030, all our products will have renewable
raw materials or will be biodegradable or will be part of an infinite life cycle that does
How is this sustainable commitment put into practice? “In South America we only
market Nomacorc, Belinsky continues. That is, our portfolio of technical stoppers that
has an ideal technology for oxygen measurement, guarantees a wine without flaws or
TCA and, in addition, it comes from renewable raw materials (sugar canes). The carbon
footprint measurement process is certified from our plant in Belgium but since we are
closer to our raw material suppliers (Braskem, located in Brazil), the numbers are
applicable and even lower in Argentina. Our plant in San Juan is BRC certified, the
global standard for food safety. There, a rigorous program of water and resource
management and energy efficiency is carried out”.
It is clear sustainable materials are technically an increasingly vital choice for wineries.
But, does it also have a marked importance for consumers?
“Even though Argentina is a few steps behind European countries, I believe that an
exponential awareness of sustainability in wines is being created. It is great that there
are more and more consumers who are concerned about sustainability, but not as an
empty concept, but contemplating concrete actions that denote an attitude of
commitment. This generates greater responsibility for the producers: a good wine
today is not only a rich product, but a product made in a sustainable way” confesses
the person in charge of communication and sales of Pielihueso Winery, who adds that
this is why they implement organic agriculture in the vineyard and they are also trying
to generate diversity by bringing animals to the farm and using goat guano as fertilizer.
In addition, they have their own distribution system and make direct sales, which
results in savings in terms of wine transport. They use eco-line bottles, which are faster
and easier to recycle, and close all their wines with Select of Nomacorc Green Line.
The winemaker of Nakkal Wines reinforces this concept: “In the local market it is still a
very new concept. We believe that as wineries begin to implement and communicate
it, consumers will value it more. There are countries abroad that have further
developed the concept, there are exclusive stores for sustainable products and that
favors consumers demand, which is very positive, because it puts pressure on
producers and I believe it raises awareness”. From their winery, in addition to closing
their wines with sustainable closures, they seek to minimize power supply through the
use of manual tools. They also reuse cleaning and disinfection water and regulate
electricity and water consumption.
“As a stopper supplier, emphasizes Belinsky, we see that there are more and more
projects for organic, natural, biodynamic or low intervention wines. All these labels
have their own specificity or standard, but what they all have in common is that they
seek to make wines that are faithful to their place of origin and to the people who
create them. Consumers are invested, in Argentina and around the world, in learning
about the complete traceability of what they buy. Today and future consumers care
about what they buy and from whom they buy, so it is extremely important for brands
to be transparent and communicate their commitment to sustainability”.
And finally, is there a sustainable commitment true impact in the finished product?
Bartolomé from Pielihueso believes that “the sustainable commitment has a 100%
impact on the finished product. Because a product that is made by people who care
about doing a good job with the grape ends up translating into lively wines, showing
more personality, expression and confidence. They are wines that reflect the land and
the identity of each producer. These wines are not only better for our planet but for
consumers. The result is a richer and more authentic wine”
And of course, what Belinsky adds to that concept: “The wonderful thing about
sustainable commitment is that it is a path and it is transparent. Sustainability is a
comprehensive concept. It is a set of attitudes we acquire and actions we do, both
personally and collectively, to better take care of the place that houses us. It is not just
about raw materials or waste; it is about a consumption logic. Once we
comprehensively analyze what we consume, it is very easy to see that the intention
was to generate a good impact. Wine is a fascinating drink, millenary and full of
culture. The magic of wine is that it respects the cycles of nature and strongly depends
on its place of origin and the hands that create it. For this reason, each sustainable
intention in the creation process adds up: from the care of the vineyard to the stopper
that allows the wine to continue breathing and micro-oxygenate. Thus, it reaches the
cup with lively flavors and aromas that express where it was born and who created it”.