Sabate USA, the US subsidiary of the world's second-largest supplier of natural cork and cork-based wine closures, today announced plans to open a cork finishing plant this May in Napa, California.

The plant will enable Sabate to effectively manage distribution of its portfolio of corks  and future product offerings, the company said.

In a statement Sabate said: "Midcal Packaging Technologies will no longer be needed to provide Sabate USA with cork finishing services but will continue to work closely with Sabate USA on business opportunities."

"We are bringing the closure finishing process much closer to our customers throughout North America," said Sabate USA managing director Eric Mercier. "Winemakers will literally be able to see and touch their closures during the final stages of production. With our own finishing facility in the US, Sabate USA is ideally situated to serve the many wineries requiring virtual 'just in time' delivery of their closure orders."

The new 7,500 square feet facility is one of several projects underway at Sabate. The company also said it was developing several "next-generation" closures based on customer input and marketplace trends.

"We anticipate bringing several new product enhancements to market in the coming year," said Sabate USA president Francois Sabate.