MASILVA is Awarded the 2019 WINnovation Award for SARA Advanced® Technology
Wine Industry Network is proud to announce MASILVA’s SARA ADVANCED® process as one of this year’s winners of a 2019 WINnovation Award. The SARA ADVANCED® process is unique in its meticulous treatment of corks, and has created a product that virtually takes away the guesswork of using natural corks.
Neil Foster, President of M.A. Silva USA, is pleased at the award. “We created this new state of the art process to be preventive and curative. This cutting-edge technology uses dry steam, temperature, and pressure to dramatically reduce TCA and other phenols.”
The original SARA process was developed to process granulate corks, used for Champagne corks and other technical closures. Their newest innovation for treating natural corks, the SARA ADVANCED® process, is being used for natural, Silktop and Champagne corks. Says Foster, “We’d seen the benefits on our granules used for the technical corks, and we’d been studying to find the process for straight wine natural corks. We went back to the drawing board. We had to understand straight wine natural cork and work to enhance the cleanliness.” Globally, MASILVA produces in excess of 600 million corks per year.
As for the technical details, this proprietary cutting-edge technology is something Foster describes with pride, “It’s a process we do after we’ve punch the corks. It’s a combination of temperature and pressure, where water is vaporized, creating dry steam. No water particles are in suspension. No moisture. It relies on the elastic memory of corks, using dry steam, temperature, and pressure to dramatically reduce TCA and other phenols.”
Using this process, corks become more neutral. The stronger aromas are cleansed, giving more of a constant sensory aroma when the corks are soaked. Reducing phenolic compounds is the goal, and with this process, they have determined that the corks are much more consistent, cleaner, and neutral.
“MA Silva’s new SARA Advanced process shows their continued commitment to deliver a closure that winemakers can trust as well as leadership in the natural cork category. The curative and preventive process of SARA Advanced is both an innovative approach to natural cork and technical achievement that’s worthy of recognition," says George Christie, President Wine Industry Network
M.A. Silva USA has been partnering with Alexandre Schmitt to research aroma molecules in cork closures. The world’s foremost expert in wine scents, Schmitt was brought on to assess cork phenolic compounds. Says Foster, “This was part of the program; we wanted him to evaluate this process. We also have other methods of testing; chemical, etc. What’s important to many winemakers is what potential impact the cork will have on the wine, aromatically. The idea of using Schmitt was having him do a number of sensory evaluations. Foster continues, “Winemakers look for the cleanest possible cork that has the least impact on wine. They want zero TCA and sensory neutrality.”
In a video of his testing, corks were soaked for 24 hours then tested to see if they altered aromas of the wine. Standard corks had more inconsistencies and less neutrality than those that had undergone the SARA ADVANCED® process.
MASILVA’s goal is to continue providing a higher quality product that doesn’t impact wine quality. The SARA ADVANCED® technology is now a standard process, applied to all regular inventory of corks. Says Foster, “As a company we’re striving to deliver the best-performing corks in the industry. This is a result of financial investment and commitment to quality that has been part of MASILVA philosophy and strategy within the last decade .”
Join WIN for the awards reception at the North Bay Business Journal’s Wine, Spirits, and Beer Awards at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, CA on December 3rd, 2019. Learn more at M.A. Silva USA’s booth at the WIN Expo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on December 5th, 2019.