“Take a problem and turn it into an opportunity”. This is how Antonino La Placa, Vinventions‘ sales director for Italy and Southeast Europe, describes the sustainable cutting-edge idea of the world’s first company to produce a wine bottle cap by recycling plastic that would end up in the oceans. Vinventions was founded in 2015 and the etymology – Wine and Inventions – announces the brand’s ambition: changing wine production and storage with innovative solutions.
How Marc Noel made Nomacorc leader of the cork stopper industry
Vinventions is the result of seven different companies specialized in wine closure solutions. Among them, Nomacorc is a company specializing in the production of synthetic corks founded by Marc Noel, a chemical engineer and researcher in the field of innovative materials. In order to find alternatives to traditional cork, Marc Noel has made Nomacorc an industry leader with synthetic corks that can provide a selective barrier to oxygen, while preserving the freshness and quality of wine. In 2013, Nomacorc developed the Green Line made with Plantcorc technology, a method that replaces fossil materials with far more sustainable ones from a plant base: sugar cane.
From the CorkLoop program to Nomacorc
However, innovation is not only achieved through technological research, but raising awareness too. In 2020, Vinventions announced the CorkLoop program, an initiative to promote the recovery and recycling of corks in order to fuel a circular economy model. Through a collection network, corks are recovered and recycled, reducing the wine industry’s environmental impact on the environment. If not properly collected, they are intended for the unsorted or wet waste, despite all the efforts to produce them.
In 2021, Vinventions confirms the will to adopt principles aligned with the circular economy by launching “Blue Line”, technologically advanced stoppers that uses 50 percent recycled plastic. This is the first step toward Nomacorc Ocean, the world’s first cap to be made from recycled plastic waste from coastal areas. This is “Ocean Bound Plastic” (OCP) waste, plastic scraps recovered from regions close to the sea, where collection systems are often inefficient and the risk of pollution is higher.
The benefits of upcycling
In the case of Nomacorc Ocean, the innovation lies not in the final product, which offers similar performance and technical features of other brand caps, but in the origin of the material employed to produce it. By recovering and turning plastic waste into new products, it is possible to increase the demand for the use of these discards, while reducing the volume of plastic responsible for polluting the oceans. “Thanks to an advanced pyrolysis process, plastic has now a new life”, Antonino La Placa further explains, “plastic turns into a potentially renewable resource that can be reused indefinitely”.
The encounter between Nomacorc and Donnafugata
Every stopper is meant to meet its bottle and Nomacorc Ocean has met and chosen Donnafugata, the historic company originally from Marsala that is representative for Italian winemaking tradition and creativity in the world. This family business has made countless collaborations with other Italian excellences. Therefore, Stefano Vitale’s artist labels and the wine collection in collaboration with Dolce&Gabbana were born. The fifth generation of the Rallo family leads the family business with special attention to sustainability: no herbicides and chemical fertilizers are used in the vineyard, the use of agro-pharmaceuticals is minimized, due to integrated pest management techniques such as the monitoring of climatic parameters.
In 2023 Donnafugata is the first winery to employ the Nomacorc Ocean cap on its Damarino Bianco Sicilia Doc. Sicily, the island of gods and nymphs that made the Mediterranean the heart of ancient myths and legends, has taken up the challenge to meet the commitments of the United Nations Agenda 2030. Plastics in marine waters represent one of the most imperative environmental issues to be tackled. Tons of OCPs flowing into the seas degrade into particles and spread in the environment. All citizens, and not only researchers and companies, can help address this emergency.
Nomacorc Ocean caps will preserve the bouquet of Damarino, a drinkable white from Ansonica grapes together with other native Sicilian vines, that is perfect for light seafood dishes and has saved waters from plastic.
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