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May 10, 2006
Whitehall Lane Winery Selects Alcoa Vino-Seal(TM) Glass Closures for its 2003 Reserve Cabernet Bottling; First Commercial Use of New Alcoa Designed Glass Wine Closure
ST. HELENA, Calif. & INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 10, 2006--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and Whitehall Lane Winery of Napa Valley, California, jointly announce today that Whitehall Lane is the first winery in the world to seal its bottles of select premium wines with the Alcoa developed Vino-Seal(TM) closure, an elegant glass closure for wine bottles secured by a traditional tin capsule. This is the first commercial use of this new glass closure designed by Alcoa's Closure Systems International (CSI) business as an alternative to traditional corks and synthetic stoppers for the wine market. The innovative sealing system was used to top 45,000 bottles of Whitehall Lane premium 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 3,000 bottles of its premium 2003 Leonardini Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
"Vino-Seal(TM) is an elegant alternative to cork and synthetic stoppers," said Whitehall Lane owner Thomas Leonardini. "The glass stopper makes perfect sense. It is attractive, functional and eliminates the problems associated with natural cork."
With a design similar to a decorative decanter stopper, Vino-Seal(TM) was developed as an alternative to traditional wine stoppers. It provides an ideal seal ensuring the wine retains its purity of flavor and aroma. Vino-Seal(TM) uses an inert o-ring to provide a sterile seal, preventing contamination or oxidation.
Vino-Seal(TM) is the U.S. cousin of the Vino-Lok 'glass on glass' wine closure also developed by Alcoa CSI in Germany, which is currently being used by 350 wineries throughout Europe to top their premium wines. "The only difference between the two glass stoppers is that Vino-lok uses an aluminum cover cap, while Vino-Seal(TM) uses a tin capsule, which is more in line with North American wine packaging," said Laura Clark, Adult Beverage Marketing Manager, Alcoa CSI.
Benefits of Vino-Seal(TM)
There are several benefits to adopting the Vino-Seal(TM) glass wine closure. The two Whitehall Lane Cabernets will develop more slowly in the Vino-Seal(TM) bottle than in a traditional cork sealed bottle giving it longer aging potential. "However, the greatest benefit is that the possibility of cork taint ruining the bottle aged with a Vino-Seal(TM) closure system is zero," said Leonardini. "And, the bottle can also be safely aged standing up."
Vino-Seal is also easy to open - no corkscrew needed. Simply cut or score the foil around the bottom of the drip ring bead on the bottle, then pull out the stopper. With this new idea, there also comes a second advantage: It is resealable. The contents of already opened bottles can now be sealed easily over and over again. In addition, the decorative stopper appeals to the aesthetic demands of connoisseurs.
Whitehall Lane winemaker Dean Sylvester has worked with Alcoa for more than two years researching and evaluating the glass closure. "Bottling went very smoothly, and the wine is showing beautifully," he said. Sylvester and Alcoa will continue to evaluate the aging of the 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. "As a winemaker, I'm excited to see how the wine evolves," Sylvester said, "If all goes as expected, we will expand the program to incorporate more of our wines."
The 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will retail for $75 and is currently available at the winery, wine shops and fine restaurants throughout the United States. The 2003 Leonardini Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon will retail for $100 and will be released in Fall 2006.
Vino-Seal(TM) is the first U.S. product in a portfolio of wine closures that Alcoa CSI is developing as an alternative to traditional wine stoppers.
The package for the 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon uses Alcoa's Vino-Seal(TM) closure in conjunction with a specifically designed bottle from Encore Glass. The capsule was made by River Cap USA.
About Whitehall Lane Winery
Whitehall Lane is a small, family owned winery in Napa Valley's Rutherford appellation. The Leonardini Family owns approximately 125 acres of Napa Valley vineyards and produces 50,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay annually. Whitehall Lane continues to use natural cork in two of the wines it produces and follows strict guidelines in selecting cork. It also uses screw caps on four of its bottlings - including the Sauvignon Blanc and half bottles of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) foils and plastic wraps, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are closures, fastening systems, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 129,000 employees in 43 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com