In 1999, Marc No\u00ebl and his father, Gert, introduced the first coextruded, synthetic wine closure to the market, called Nomacorc. No\u00ebl currently serves as founder and chairman of Vinventions, the parent company of Nomacorc and one of the world\u2019s leading suppliers of wine closures; as of 2018, at least 2.8 billion bottles of wine have been sealed with his products. Today, Nomacorc is Vinventions\u2019 largest brand of closure solutions, offering sustainable, plant-based closures to winemakers worldwide.\r\n\r\nWhat was the inspiration for the first Nomacorc product?\r\n\r\nMy father founded a company in 1950 for transformation-extrusion of plastic materials into all types of applications. He was also a very avid wine lover and was more and more frustrated with wines contaminated with trichloroanisole [TCA] from cork closures. He said, \u201cWe\u2019re going to solve this.\u201d He started what he called Project Broomstick, trying to make wine closures out of co extruded plastic material. He asked me to join him, and I agreed very quickly. We built what we called Nomacorc.\r\n\r\nSo wines sealed with Nomacorcs aren\u2019t vulnerable to cork taint. Are there other differences between Nomacorcs and natural corks? \r\n\r\nWhat we found once we solved the TCA issue was another great benefit, which was the consistency for the production line. The first closure was exactly the same in all regards to the millions of other closures wineries would be using. I exaggerate a little here, but every single natural cork has a different oxygen transfer rate because they all have a cell structure made by nature. With Nomacorcs, because of our coextrusion process, they are all exactly the same, giving winemakers and consumers a higher level of consistency across bottles.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nVinventions offers other closure products, from screwcaps to high-end natural corks and micro-agglomerative corks. What is the connective thread?\r\n\r\nThere is no one solution for all wines. The big opportunity and liability a closure supplier has to the world is that this little thing that costs sometimes ten cents or twenty cents can protect a five, ten, or hundred-dollar bottle of wine. In the end it\u2019s this little closure that has the responsibility to make sure the wine is as the winemaker intended. Through technology, we ensure that in all of our products. We also guarantee all of our closures\u2014even our natural corks\u2014to be TCA-free.\r\n\r\nVinventions has put an emphasis on sustainability. How does it influence your products?\r\n\r\nWe feel we have an absolute responsibility to make sure we are a driver in making wine closure products much more sustainable. For example, our Nomacorc Green Line is 100% based on sustainable materials derived from sugarcane. The result is a closure from a natural product that also looks very much like a natural cork. Sugarcane also consumes carbon dioxide. That, along with our innovative manufacturing processes, allow some of these products to have a zero-carbon footprint.\r\n\r\nAnd because sugarcane consumes carbon dioxide, Nomacorc products have a zero carbon footprint. That is a big difference compared to other closures, including natural corks and screwcaps, where production results in a positive carbon footprint.\r\n\r\nWhat are you working on now?\r\n\r\nWe\u2019re currently doing tests on polymerization of waste from the winemaking process, the skins and the pits in the grapes that are discarded. There are mountains of such waste in every region where wine is being made. Just like we do with sugarcane with some of our Nomacorcs, we are trying to bring that waste back into our production process to develop a closure. That would be\u00a0 phenomenal circular sustainability. It could make a real difference to the planet.\r\nDiscover more about how science is leading drinks into the future in our Wine & Tech issue.