(European Aluminium Foil Association), and from Michael Fridjhon, arguably South Africa’s leading wine authority. Also among the line-up were top executives from Guala Closures and Hulamin.
The recognition enjoyed by aluminium closures stems ultimately from their quality, resource efficiency and sustainability. Aluminium closures represent the modern way of closing bottles, with a proven positive effect on taste, quality, convenience and sustainability. Not only do they prevent wine spoilage, they have an excellent environmental performance.
As South African wine producers and marketers are discovering, aluminium closures provide optimal functionality and have the ability to enhance brand appearance, using intricate design options such as glossy or matt finishes, embossing and even digital printing.
Among other facts to emerge, recycling aluminium uses up to 95% less energy than its primary production (with corresponding savings in greenhouse gas emissions) and, thanks to its infinite recyclability, some 75% of the aluminium ever produced is estimated to be still in use today; and there’s no loss of quality.
Proving that the aluminium screw cap is here to stay, market shares for wine packaging are 95% in New Zealand, 80% in Australia and above 60% in South Africa and Chile.
According to a life cycle analysis, wine loss rates using cork stoppers are 2 to 5% compared to 0.2 to 0.5% for aluminium screw caps.
From a consumer perspective, a survey undertaken earlier this year by independent market research company, IPSOS, demonstrated that aluminium closures are the favourite. For example, in Germany and the UK – both key markets for South African wines – 68% of respondents believed a bottle with an aluminium closure to be the most practical and easy to open. Over 75% found aluminium closures most suitable when reclosing unfinished bottles of wine. Significantly, both markets indicated a preference towards buying wine closed with an aluminium closure – even when comparative wines were priced the same. The survey also showed that, among younger consumers and particularly females, there is a strong preference for aluminium closures.
Producers of aluminium closures and screw caps for spirits, water, wine, olive oil and pharmaceuticals are represented by The Closures Group – a section within the the EAFA. These members represent about 75% of global aluminium closures production.
Hulamin transforms aluminium recycling
In South Africa, Hulamin is a leading fabricator of aluminium and, as, the only major aluminium rolling operation in sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the largest non-mineral beneficiating exporters, with over 60% of its sales exported to global manufacturers.
Earlier this year, in a move that will transform the South African aluminium scrap recycling sector, Hulamin announced the opening – next October – of an aluminium recycling plant in Pietermaritzburg. This R300-million investment targets the recycling of used aluminium beverage cans.
Another locally-based international market leader is Guala Closures SA, a member of the Guala Closures Group founded in Italy in 1954 and now operating on five continents with 24 production facilities, all ISO certified. This is a world leader when it comes to the production of aluminium closures.
Guala Closures SA supplies aluminium closures to a range of industries including wine and spirits. Its state-of-the-art factory in Cape Town (previously MCG Closures) has been in operation for over half a century.