American drinks retailer launches cork educational campaign

US drinks retailer Fairway Market has partnered with the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) to launch a new cork educational campaign starting in November this year.

Featuring in its three Fairway Wine & Spirits outlets, the educational campaign aims to alert shoppers about the relationship between wine and cork – the history, types of corks, and the environmental benefits.

It will also inform consumers about the positive environmental impact of purchasing wine closed with natural corks via in-store signage and banners, cork recycling bins, weekly wine tastings, cork prizes and giveaways.

The outlets will also be collecting customers’ used natural corks, adding to the 75 million corks are recycled in North America every year.

“Cork is biodegradable, sustainable and recyclable,” said Angelo Martelli, director of wine for Fairway Wine & Spirits. “We know our consumers value products that are eco-friendly. We want them to know that it’s important to us too, which is why we are supporting this new educational campaign. Our ultimate goal is to educate consumers about cork’s impact on the environment and its effect on the development and aging of the wine itself.”

Inspired by a recent visit to the cork forest in Portugal, which is the world’s largest producer and exporter of natural cork, Martelli curated the campaign to provide an opportunity for consumers to gain a better understanding of how cork is harvested and how purchasing wines closed with cork can help consumers reduce their carbon footprints and support natural habitats.

“There are millions of acres of cork oak forest acting as a massive carbon sink. The forest is also home to hundreds of animals and plants, including the endangered Iberian lynx, of which there are only a couple of hundred left in the world,” said Martelli. “I think consumers will be thrilled to learn that simply by buying a bottle of wine that’s closed with natural cork they are part of preserving a critical ecosystem.

“It’s important to me to bring this information about sustainability back to consumers in our retail stores.”

Throughout the campaign, Fairway is encouraging customers to bring corks to its tri-state locations to be recycled and donated to ReCork, North America’s largest natural wine cork recycling program.

ReCork grinds down and repurposes cork into a variety of eco-friendly products, including yoga blocks and flip-flops.

The corks collected at Fairway will also be donated to the Darien Nature Center, a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs to families in the community to promote a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Proceeds will be used to fund animal welfare and environmental efforts.

The educational program runs through November, in New York. It will also run in Fairway’s New Jersey and Connecticut locations with a plan to expand it to other regional supermarkets in 2019.

Earlier this year, Cork producer Amorim and French hypermarket chain Auchan announced their decision to join forces to launch a major recycling campaign for cork stoppers.

Announced in July, all 641 Auchan retail outlets in France offered cork collection points during the retail chain’s Autumn Wine Fair, which ran from 21 September to 9 October this year.

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