It’s taking me 3 days to finish my most recent bottle, so I thought I might bring you all the news instead – though to start with, I didn’t find much!
There is the Dr Vino non-story about reviewers being taken to lunch and more peripherally Mark Squires getting yet another vote for worst moderator – I laughed at first, but in the end, not even worth linking to. I found two interviews reasonably interesting; Randall Grahm and Bernard Magrez, clearly two completely contrast-worthy characters, and I find yet more photos from Vincent Dancer – he’s been quite busy in the last days.
If there’s one story that could slip through un-noticed, but actually begs further comment, it is a recent Decanter news item:
Closure manufacturer Oeneo has successfully protected the technology behind its Diam ‘technical cork’ in a court victory against rival closure companies.
Sounds dull? On closer inspection, not.
The approach under challenge was the one that produces the ‘Diam’ cork amalgam (as used in the recent Belland) seal and the Jadot above. The key step for this is the use of something called super-critical-carbon dioxide. In layman’s terms, that’s taking carbon dioxide gas and increasing the pressure until it behaves almost like a liquid – and why? – well in this state it acts like the world’s best solvent and easily washes away the nasty TCA molecule which causes corkiness. So much for the process, but what’s the news? Well for me the real news is twofold, and none of it is actually addressed in the Decanter ‘news story’:
- Firstly, the fact that some groups are now seeing potential value from the long and relatively expensive patent challenge process would underline to me the quality of the solution – it must work – and if it works, there’s money to be made.
- Secondly, and it’s a bit more subtle, but did you notice who the ‘challengers’ were? “Portugal’s Cork Supply Group and industry consultant Pedro Gil Ferreira“: Not only does the Diam approach seem to be a strong solution, but also it takes away a clear cork advantage (or let us say improvement) from the cork producers themselves and clearly puts it into the hands of others. Whilst the technology seems to have the potential to prolong, or even rejuvenate a cork market that is more than moribund (it is actually losing significant sales to alternatives), the value extraction (read: profits!) will be in the hands of others.
That’s how I read this challenge anyway!