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The Cedar Rapids inventor of a wine preservation product is enjoying industry acclaim and experiencing strong domestic and international sales.
Tom Lutz began selling Repour Wine Saver stoppers with a soft launch in June 2017. The device, manufactured by BeraTek Industries in Cedar Rapids, was quickly named an Amazon's Choice product and picked up some early endorsements from regional, national and global wine industry publications.
Repour Wine Saver was developed by Lutz, a chemist, to solve the age-old problem of wine going bad after a bottle is opened.
'When wine is exposed to oxygen it deteriorates, altering the taste and aroma, eventually producing the vinegar taste we often associate with wine gone bad,” Lutz said. 'A Repour stopper contains a Food and Drug Administration-approved oxygen absorber that absorb any oxygen in the bottle.”
Lutz said Repour continues to absorb oxygen from the air above the wine for as long as the bottle is in use, for however many times it is opened and closed, and for as many days as the bottle needs to be preserved.
'With oxygen effectively and actively removed from the air and the wine in the bottle, degradation is prevented, and the original aroma and taste of the wine is preserved.” he said. 'That means no wine needs to be poured down the drain.”
By the end of October, 100,000 bottles of wine had been saved with Repour, Lutz said, and demand came almost immediately from international customers.
Repour is sold in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with distribution coming on board in Scandinavia, Asia and Australia. More than 2,000 stores in the United States stock the wine saver in single, four-pack, 10-pack and 72-pack options.
'A single Repour Wine Saver sells for about $2.49, but the price drops to as low as $1 per stopper if you purchase in bulk with a 72-pack,” Lutz said. 'While we have enjoyed strong sales to bars and restaurants as well as individual consumers, we also have seen interest from wineries to co-brand Repour with their name.”
Lutz said Repour picked up an endorsement from Kevin Vogt, a Master Sommelier who owns a wine shop and tasting room in Yountville, Calif.
'My wife and I were out there in July and we dropped off a sample of Repour,” Lutz said. 'To be honest, I thought it would probably end up in the trash after we left.
'He started ordering Repour stoppers about six weeks later and has been using them ever since.”
Lutz said sales of Repour are expected to grow with the recent hiring of a national sales representative.
'We have been fairly focused on the individual consumer,” he said. 'When we did the soft launch in June, we just wanted to get the word out and have people try our product.
'With the hiring of a national sales person, we expect to ramp up sales to larger clients.”