Wine in a Can back in the hands of the inventors

Barokes Wines has been formally recognised as the pioneer of the Vinsafe canned wine technology, following a five-year court battle with its Japanese shareholder Daiwa Can Company.

The Australian company’s business and assets, including its globally patented Vinsafe (wine in a can) technology, trademarks, intellectual property etc. were purchased by Barokes’ executive management team via Intelligent Packaging Pty Ltd (trading as Barokes Wines), an Australian company primarily owned by Greg and Irene Stokes and Steve Barics.

Greg Stokes and Steve Barics are the inventors of a solution to the many issues surrounding packaging wine in a can, whilst Irene Stokes has been the sales & marketing director at Barokes since 2005. The Barokes business and its intellectual property, valued by BNP Paribas in 2011 in excess of €130 million, is now 100% Australian owned.

Barokes Wines CEO, Greg Stokes, said: “As a little Aussie battler fighting against a huge multinational Japanese corporation it has certainly been a monumental David and Goliath battle spanning five years, which saw us having to put everything on the line to retain a business and technology we have spent the past two decades inventing and developing globally.

“We are delighted to have the business back and to be the masters of our own destiny. The wine in a can category is the fastest growing wine category at present, and Barokes is the globally recognised pioneer. We have big plans for the future which we are now free to pursue. This new category that Barokes created and was the first to successfully patent and commercialise globally is tipped to be bigger than the wine cask.”

The Vinsafe technology is the only globally patented and time proven integrated technology system for successfully canning wine which can maintain both the wines’ integrity (colour, aroma, taste as intended by the winemaker) and the can itself (including its lining) for more than 12 months. This provides product stability and transportability without refrigeration around the world.

Barokes sales & marketing director, Irene Stokes said: “Now that we are free of our shareholder issues we can focus on the business. This has meant new product customers in China, the Philippines, Canada, India and a number of South American markets.

“Additionally, the licencing arm of our business is doing well as reputable wine producers concerned about wasting their precious wine or risking their brands, seek to use our Vinsafe technology to produce quality wine in a can products for consumers under their own labels. We have Vinsafe accredited can manufacturers and fillers in place in Australia and New Zealand and are fielding numerous enquiries from around the world by others wishing to enter the wine in a can category by becoming accredited Vinsafe suppliers.”

Canned wine faces a myriad of issues

The significant growth of the wine in a can category in the US, valued this year at US$93 million, also provides significant opportunities for Barokes. However, wineries and fillers face a myriad of quality, stability and other serious issues such as product inconsistency, short shelf life (3‐4 months), adverse wine and lining integration and excess aluminium uptake into the wine, which in some cases has resulted in complete product recalls.

Irene Stokes said: “Wine in a can producers in the US and Canada are demanding a solution to these very serious issues that negatively impact on their products and the long term sustainability of the wine in a can market, and are looking to our Vinsafe technology to effectively address all these issues and provide a safe and integrally stable product with a shelf life in excess of 12 months.

“Driven by demand, Barokes is now exporting Vinsafe cans from Australia into North America as the first step into this market to assist winemakers and fillers. Our Vinsafe cans have a guaranteed shelf life of 12 months and we work with wineries to prepare their wines so that they are suitable for canning.

“Vinsafe customers in the US, UK, Europe and around the world, will obtain a minimum shelf life of 12 months and will also be able to export their canned wine products and gain access into Vinsafe patented markets. No other can supplier can offer this to their wine customers at present. The Vinsafe logo is printed on all Vinsafe cans to allow consumers to have confidence in the products they are consuming from a can.”

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