Synthetic corks are made from plastic

Synthetic corks are made from plastic

A new bio-plant closure for wine bottles could replace plastic corks if oil prices continue to rise, its maker has claimed.

Nomacorc lead scientist, Olav Aagaard said yesterday (21 May) that the sugarcane-based Select Bio will cost about 20% more than oil-based closures. “But with oil prices increasing, at some point in the future there would be a point when the cost will be lower and it will make more sense economically,” Aagaard told just-drinks.

Nomocorc, which makes about 13% of the world's wine closures, unveiled Select Bio at Stuttgart's Intervitis Interfructa in April and is showcasing it at this week's London International Wine Fair.

The three closures in the range, which took two years to develop, claim to have a zero-carbon footprint. They use similar technology to the Coca-Cola Co's PlantBottle, and Nomacorc said the soft drink giant's backing could help bring prices down further.

“The good news is that Coke and Danone (with single-serve yogurt pots) are pushing this big time,” said the group's director of global marketing Jeffrey Slater. “The demand is there and that will obviously have an effect on costs.”

Nomacorc is confident its new invention can top 100m bottles in three to five years, with initial demand coming from organic wine makers. However, Aagaard said it is unlikely to replace natural cork as the leading wine closure, especially among premium labels.

“There will always be a market and should always be a market for cork,” he said.

In March, Nomacorc opened a plant in Argentina to target the country's “rapid growth” in wine exports.