Divers have discovered what is thought to be the world’s oldest drinkable champagne in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. They tasted the one bottle they’ve brought up so far before they even got back to shore.
Diving instructor Christian Ekstrom said the bottles are believed to be from the 1780s and likely were part of a cargo destined for Russia. The nationality of the sunken ship has not yet been determined.
“We brought up the bottle to be able to establish how old the wreck was,” he told The Associated Press. “We didn’t know it would be champagne. We thought it was wine or something.”
Ekstrom said the divers were overjoyed when they popped the cork on their boat after hauling the bubbly from a depth of 200 feet.
“It tasted fantastic. It was a very sweet champagne, with a tobacco taste and oak,” Ekstrom said.
The divers discovered the shipwreck Tuesday near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland. About 70 bottles are believed to be aboard the sunken vessel.
Ekstrom said he is confident of the champagne’s age and authenticity, but samples have been sent to laboratories in France for testing. “We’re 98 percent sure already because of the bottle (we found),” he said.
Swedish wine expert Carl-Jan Granqvist said each bottle could fetch $68,000 if the corks are intact and the sparkling drink is genuine and drinkable.
“If this is true, it is totally unique,” said Granqvist, one of the experts contacted by Ekstrom and his team. “I don’t know of any other (drinkable) bottle this old. I’ve never even heard of it.”
Granqvist said he had seen pictures of the bottle, and it had languished in near-perfect storage conditions — in the dark at a constant cold temperature.
“If it’s the right atmosphere outside, and inside the bottle the cork is kept dry in the middle; it keeps itself,” he said.
For Daniel Michalik, the designer responsible for creating the items of furniture, “cork was a natural choice”
It is in bustling New York that the first Google Store comes to life. In contrast to the city’s frenetic pace and the concrete colors, cork was the material chosen for development of the store’s items of furniture, bringing a sense of calm to the Great Apple and fostering a perfect symbiosis between Nature and Technology. We spoke with Daniel Michalik, the designer responsible for creating the items of furniture, who affirmed that “cork was a natural choice”, due to both its sustainability credentials and warm visuals.
How did this project come about and why did you choose cork for the first Google Store?
I should first note that the Store was designed by Reddymade, a New York Architecture office founded by Suchi Reddy. I was working directly for them, although Google was of course the end client. There were three main reasons why Google was interested in choosing cork as a theme for their retail environment. First, their objective for this space was to be among the few to achieve LEED Platinum status. That made cork a natural choice, since it is so sustainable. Second, they wanted a material that had a friendly, humanistic character to it. This is one of the qualities that has always attracted me to cork. Third, cork was used in the Store’s “contextual zone”, meaning that the goal was to build a “simulation” of an actual home environment, so customers could imagine the home products in their own environment. Cork has a “blank slate” quality to it, in that visitors can project their own ideas or experiences on to the material.
Which items of furniture were developed for the Store?
We developed full scale, functional furniture in combinations of cork and American White Oak for the space. These included furniture for a living space, including a sofa, lounge chair, large round ottoman, coffee table, bookcase, side tables, etc. We also designed objects for a children’s space, including a bed, rug, shelving, desk and chair. Finally, we designed elements for a “kitchen” space, including a counter with a cork sink, a bar, bar stools, etc. Everything was designed and built in our studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Why did you suggest using cork?
I advocated for the use of cork, because it is one of the healthiest materials on the planet. Cork is a healthy material, from the perspective of the natural system’s health / renewability, from the perspective of human labor and paying fair wages to all those involved in the supply chain, and from the perspective of the health of those that use objects made from cork.
What do you like the most about this raw material?
I love the fact that when one works with cork, whether you are a farmer, harvester, producer or designer, one must take the entire ecosystem into account. Since cork is responsibly harvested, the material is not just extracted. It is extracted from the tree, but the tree grows stronger and healthier. When the tree grows stronger, the ecosystem and the biodiversity that relies on the tree grows stronger. Traditional human wisdom and skill is respected, so the culture grows stronger. Cork is a model that humans must learn from as we enter the climate crisis, and have to redefine our relationship to materials.
When did you start using cork in your projects?
I have been designing cork furniture and objects since 2005. In this year, I completed my Master’s degree in Furniture Design at The Rhode Island School of Design. My Master’s thesis was all about new uses of cork in furniture. In the following year, I exhibited my thesis project at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and from there my cork practice was born.
What was it like to work with Amorim Cork Composites?
ACC has been a partner in my cork design projects for many years. First, ACC is committed to innovation, and is forward-looking in seeing the new potential for cork applications in design and architecture. ACC was able to custom produce many of the materials and components for this project. Second, ACC and Amorim are world leaders in cork, and are at the forefront of the sustainability and human concerns in the industry. ACC has deep respect for the culture, history and embedded wisdom of cork agriculture and industry.
Integrated within the top of the car’s dashboard, sun visors and doors, cork is a natural raw material which helps reduce the environmental footprint of the German manufacturer’s custom-made one-off car
Integrated within the top of the car’s dashboard, sun visors and doors, cork is a natural raw material, which helps reduce the environmental footprint of the German manufacturer’s custom-made one-off car, (co-)created by the British designer, Paul Smith. The raw material is supplied by Amorim Cork Composites, and brings comfort, impermeability, thermal and acoustic insulation, anti-vibration and other valuable attributes to the MINI Strip.
Moulding techniques have made it possible to take advantage of cork’s natural characteristics, such as lightness, elasticity and softness to the touch, thereby endowing a feeling of well-being, natural beauty and comfort to the car. Given cork’s resilience, compressibility and resistance to friction this unique solution can withstand the demands of everyday life – whether for daily use, sports driving or catering to different road surfaces.
Corticeira Amorim’s Chairman and CEO, António Rios de Amorim, reveals that “the use of cork in an iconic car model such as the Mini reflects a core premise of change in the mobility sector, that is already well underway. This is a paradigm shift of which Corticeira Amorim forms an integral part… Cork is such an exceptional raw material by nature that it may seem impossible to improve it. But that is precisely what Corticeira Amorim has achieved over the last 150 years, through structured innovation programmes, making a firm commitment to differentiation based on cork’s unique qualities. Our company is making an unparalleled contribution in the cork sector to reinvention of this unique natural material”.
The integration of cork in the interior of the new MINI Strip is yet another achievement, in line with Corticeira Amorim’s mission: to add value to cork in a competitive, differentiated and innovative manner, in perfect harmony with Nature. In other words, to promote the development of sustainable products, practices and solution, while satisfying consumer needs, anticipating market trends, and exceeding the expectations of some of the world’s most technological, disruptive and demanding business activities.
In January 2020, Amorim began a series of exciting initiatives to celebrate the Group’s 150th anniversary. At the same time, our Australian sales company, Amorim Australasia, was making a significant move to a purpose-developed facility; the first in the world to adopt and showcase the company’s new branding.
As the year progressed, many of the planned celebrations had to be put on hold and the Group’s resilience was tested, but Amorim Australasia was able to harness its new capacity and defy market trends by delivering what will be a record result for the business unit.
To celebrate the move, the remarkable year of 2020 and the Group’s 150th Anniversary, the team at Amorim Australasia have planted two cork trees. These trees are symbolically significant, representing new beginnings in our new premises, and our inherent ties to Portugal, resilience and pride.
One tree has been planted at the front of the building, provided with occasional shade from the Australian and Portuguese flags which fly proudly next to it. The other tree stands in the light-filled foyer of the new building, in a purpose-built cork-clad planter. One embraces nature, the land and the climate, whereas the other is controlled in a modern context. Both trees are already a talking point for visitors to the site and help tell the beautiful story of cork and its origins as well as its evolution in terms of quality performance.
Amorim Australasia’s CEO, Tim Stead commented “Whilst we are on the other side of the world from our headquarters in Portugal, we felt it was important to mark this historic year for the Group. Planting a tree is a broadly used symbolic nod to the future and new beginnings, but a cork tree represents so much more, in terms of patience, determination, longevity and history. These slow growing, resilient trees and their generous gift of cork bark are well aligned with our journey in this market which at times has tested our resolve. We are now thriving, nourished by the embrace of our market, bringing value and sustainability to our industry.”
“NASA will continue to rely on your aerospace thermal protection materials”.
Donald Thomas spoke with Amorim Cork Composites about the benefits of cork for the aerospace industry, his experience and contribution to space achievements and how he sees space exploration over the next decade. A fascinating interview to read, learn and dream.
You’re very familiar with the fact that Amorim has been working with NASA as a technology partner since the beginning of space exploration. How do feel about being part of this legacy?
I’m extremely proud to have had the opportunity to be part of our country’s space program including the amazing opportunity to fly on the Space Shuttle on four occasions. And to know that Amorim cork played such a critical role in the thermal protection system of the Solid Rocket Boosters makes me so thankful to Amorim’s great team of employees. The work you have done in the past watching out for astronauts’ safety is truly appreciated by all the astronaut crews that flew the Space Shuttle during its thirty-year program.
And Amorim’s involvement does not end there. NASA is busy designing, building, and testing our next generation of launch vehicles, called the Space Launch System. With the first test launch currently scheduled for 2019, this will be one of the biggest and most powerful rockets ever built by NASA and will have the capability to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars. NASA will continue to rely on your aerospace thermal protection materials as we take on these incredibly complex and challenging missions ahead.
“Amorim cork played a critical role in the thermal protection.”
Photo Source: ohioastronaut.com
On the verge of Mars colonization and deep space exploration over the coming decades, how do you think your experience as an astronaut has contributed to this momentum?
Even though the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs were focused exclusively on Earth orbit missions, what we have learned and the experience gained will be a tremendous help as we head to Mars and explore deep space. Much of the technology we will be using in the new Space Launch System rockets is derived from previous experiences and developments from the Space Shuttle, including the use of solid rocket boosters and the Space Shuttle Main Engines.
Much of what we have learned in life support during the ISS program will be useful for the design and building of habitats on Mars. And the reliability in our systems developed for the ISS will be invaluable for the Mars missions which will take place much further from Earth. We have also learned a lot about the human body in space during extended periods of time. Scott Kelly’s One Year mission and the dozens of other astronauts who have lived aboard the ISS have greatly advanced our knowledge and ability to keep astronauts healthy in space for long periods of time.
All of this work will directly contribute to our upcoming Mars missions. In the space business there is a commonly-used phrase “We stand on the shoulders of giants” which means that the current generation of engineers, scientists, and astronauts stands of the shoulders of those who came before us. And just as the Space Shuttle Program stood on the shoulders of the Apollo Program, our new Space Launch System Program will stand on the shoulders of the Shuttle and the ISS. Continuing in this manner, future generations will literally be able to reach for the stars.
“We have also learned a lot about the human body in space during extended periods of time.”
Photo Source: ohioastronaut.com
From your perspective and experience, what will be the key needs of the aerospace industry over the coming decade?
One of the biggest developments in the next decade will be NASA’s new Space Launch System rockets which will open the door for astronauts to leave Earth’s orbit and travel to deep space destinations such as Mars. Once this series of rockets has been developed and tested, the doors will be open for many different destinations such as asteroids, the moons of Mars, or landing on the red planet. I am envious of our young students today in classrooms who will be our next generation of explorers undertaking these exciting missions.
I think the next decade will also see the development of commercial space travel. In the past only the very wealthy were able to purchase flights to space. But with numerous commercial space companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and many others, I envision there being many possibilities for citizens to visit space in the future. From relatively short sub-orbital experiences to visiting commercial space stations, there will be a range of missions for the public to choose from.
I am excited about the possibility of commercial space travel so that many more individuals will have the opportunity to see what an amazingly beautiful planet we live on, as I have seen it. About 550 people have flown in space to date and nearly every one of them has returned to Earth with a keen appreciation for how fragile our planet is and how we all have a responsibility to take better care of the Earth. And the more people that can experience this incredible view from space, the more people we will have to help spread the word. Earth is such a beautiful world and we frequently find ourselves taking it for granted. Seeing the Earth from space is definitely a life-changing experience!
“Future generations will literally be able to reach for the stars.”
Photo Source: ohioastronaut.com
Cork is being part of the news. What do you think that hasn’t been said yet about cork in the space industry?
Cork… it’s not just for use on Planet Earth! Just as cork has been such an important component of the thermal protection of nearly every rocket launched from Earth, I expect it will find similar applications when we are visiting other moons and planets in our solar system and eventually launching rockets back home from their surfaces. Cork… don’t leave Earth without it!
About Donald Thomas
Don Thomas is an astronaut, scientist, professional speaker, educator, and author of Orbit of Discovery, about his STS-70 mission aboard the Discovery space shuttle. A veteran of four flights, Don has spent 44 days in space and orbited the Earth nearly 700 times. Today, Don is helping to inform and excite the general public about our future in space and preparing our next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers for their missions in the future.
Celebrating the success of high achievers in the Australian wine industry supply chain
Ten innovative companies are the toast of the Australian wine industry as recipients of coveted awards of excellence.
The 2018 National Wine Industry IMPACT Awards were presented tonight in Adelaide to celebrate the achievements of businesses that have made major contributions to the capability and competitiveness of the sector.
Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (WISA) presented the awards in a ceremony at the Adelaide Town Hall attended by more than 400 influential industry leaders from around the nation.
Independent industry experts selected the winners from fifteen short-listed businesses nominated in categories including grape growing, winemaking, packaging, distribution and logistics, marketing and communications and tourism along with a start-up category recognising emerging enterprises introducing dynamic products and services.
WISA Executive Officer, Matthew Moate, said the winners were visionary and progressive businesses making a positive impact on the Australian wine industry, which employs about 172,000 people in 65 grape growing regions that contribute over $40 billion a year to the national economy.
“All entrants presented excellent qualifications for the awards, challenging the judges to select the best of the best as winners,” he said.
“They are the toast of the industry as companies that have brought dynamic services and solutions along the wine industry supply chain from vineyard to the glass, including memorable consumer and tourism experiences.”
Tim Whetstone, the State Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andreas Clark, led congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Wine Industry IMPACT Awards.
The winners in their categories are:
Grape Growing Award Partnered by Bentleys SA
TracMap supplying growers and contractors with sophisticated GPS guidance systems and cloud-based applications for precision management of vineyards.
Winemaking partnered by DW Fox Tucker Lawyers
The IMCD Group in Australia and New Zealand supplies the Proteotest kit from Vason, which allows winemakers to quickly, accurately and reliably determine protein stability in wine for greater preservation of its integrity and reduction of over fining that impacts sensory qualities.
Packaging partnered by Australian Vintage Limited
Amorim Australasia is an exemplary supplier of cork closures demonstrated by a multi-million dollar research and development focus supporting the Australian wine industry by enhancing domestic and export quality and reputation.
Engineering category partnered by Pernod Ricard Winemakers
Best Bottlers has delivered innovative automation solutions that increase speed, reduce costs and provide greater flexibility in small format packaging options for their customers.
Distribution and Logistics partnered by MGA Insurance Brokers
WineWorks Australia has made major investments in infrastructure and services to create best fit transport, warehousing, reworking and export solutions for clients along the complete supply chain. The company also won this prestigious award in 2016.
Marketing and Communications partnered by Australia’s Wine Business Magazine
BrandPrint’s off-the-shelf business intelligence software implemented by Australian Vintage Ltd is providing greater capability across the supply chain to analyse sales data resulting in enhanced efficiency and profitability.
Tourism partnered by Cathay Pacific Airways
Studio S2 Architects specialise in providing architectural and interior design and education with a focus on wine tourism. It introduces best practice for tourism elements including cellar door experiences and business growth.
Start-Up partnered by Casella Family Brands
Rapid Phenotyping is an emerging platform for instantly measuring chemicals throughout the entire wine making cycle from nutrients in the soil, the uptake of nutrients to the vine and then sugar, tannin and acid levels of the fruit.
Minister Whetstone said: “The awards recognise the contribution of innovative and world leading technologies to improve the capability and competitiveness of the nation’s wine industry.”
Andreas Clark said: “The Australian grape and wine community is renowned for its innovative spirit, and this extends across the sector and its value chain. The support along the supply chain is important to increasing the competitiveness of our whole sector, and I congratulate all of the finalists and winners for your recognition in this year’s Wine Industry IMPACT Awards.”