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Alvis Start Vintage 2006 With 10 Millionth Kiwi Screwcap
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New Zealand's wine vintage 2006 is just beginning and already has a milestone to celebrate with the 10 millionth kiwi made screwcap coming off the Alvis production line.
Until Alvis, every screwcap used for New Zealand wine has been imported and Stephan Jelicich MD of Esvin Wine Resources, the company behind Alvis Screwcaps says "There's always a buzz around the country at this time of year with wineries heading into vintage and it's great to add to that buzz by producing our ten millionth cap. Vintage '06 will see a lot of kiwi wines, for the very first time, going to market under a kiwi made closure."
Alvis became the first locally made screwcap when production began at their Mount Wellington plant in September last year, and Jelicich says "10 million Alvis screwcaps is a big deal. To put it in context, just four years ago, in 2002, 10 million caps would have pretty well served NZ's entire screwcap demand."
Adoption by the industry has been rapid and enthusiastic with Alvis already sealing many of our best known and highest quality wine bands, including Astrolabe, Kim Crawford, Wither Hills, Clearview, Te Awa, Ngatarawa, Alpha Domus, Giesen, Sileni, Mount Difficulty and Spy Valley, to name just a few. "The enthusiasm for Alvis and local production has been really rewarding for us and that's a key point. We haven't just made 10 million caps, we have sold them." says Jelicich "the nature of screwcap production is that you have to know your client needs and the size of their order before you can start production."
This fact underlines some of the advantages to our wine industry in finally having local production of screwcaps. Through his company Esvin Wine Resources, Stephan Jelicich was first a cork importer, then in 2001 led the move to screwcaps, becoming the first to import the then revolutionary closure into NZ. He says "relying on imports from Europe was simply not sustainable for such a critical part of NZ's wine production. Transport and shipping costs, time delays, language and time zone difficulties, fluctuation in price and supply, were variables that we faced on a daily basis. That's without even considering the European manufacturers' motivation to service what in global terms, is a miniscule market. Having entirely NZ focussed production means we're no longer waiting, cap in hand, so to speak, for service and attention from multinational screwcap manufacturers whose loyalty naturally enough, lies with customers and markets that dwarf New Zealand." For wineries, local supply has a number of benefits "Proximity and immediacy bring significant advantages, an obvious example is to be able to decide the quantity of caps you're buying, after grape harvest. That's a big change from having to buy caps five months in advance, to guarantee you have them when needed, at bottling."
The kiwi made screwcap will also be readily identifiable to every day wine drinkers says Jelicich. "At the heart of the investment in Alvis and what we've achieved in bringing screwcap production into NZ, is printing technology. What we can do now in screwcap decoration is extraordinary and we're seeing some really eye catching branding being done. Bolder colours, complex design and branding effects on every aspect of the cap, including the top and the entire sidewall is now easily achieved. Wine marketers can finally carry through their brand marketing using every piece of the wine package and wine drinkers worldwide will start notice the Alvis contribution to New Zealand's wines. I've seen the future for NZ's wine industry and it's brightly coloured."