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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 8, 2010, 4:45 am

Wine packaging venture takes aim at just-in-time needs

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    M.A. Silva founder,  marketer behind  Vertical Glass startup

    VerticalGlassLOGO_cSANTA ROSA — North Coast vintners have a new option for purchasing bottles and packaging.

    Vertical Glass & Packaging of Santa Rosa is a venture by Neil Foster, president and owner of cork distributor M.A. Silva Corks USA of Santa Rosa, and David Hammond, who has been a wine packaging marketer locally for several years and is president of Vertical.

    Vertical Glass & Packaging founders Neil Foster and David Hammond

    Vertical Glass & Packaging founders Neil Foster and David Hammond

    “Today’s packaging suppliers are facing more and more challenges to meet the increasing demands of bottling operations,” Mr. Foster said.

    One of the services the wine packaging startup is touting, in addition to supply parameters for high-speed lines and aesthetic quality, is just-in-time ordering from glass plants in China and North America.

    “If effective delivery times change from wineries, we change accordingly,” Mr. Hammond said. “We’re manufacturing, shipping and delivering on a schedule exposed to the customer base.”

    That includes a system for allowing customers to track the delivery schedule from the time of ordering until arrival at the bottling facility.

    Some wineries have been adjusting their bottling schedules because of slower depletions in certain markets since economic conditions started worsening in 2008.

    Wine packaging suppliers have told the Business Journal that changes in the size of orders and delivery schedule have challenged cash flow and inventory management.

    Vertical Glass & Packaging has contract warehousing in Benicia for bottles and packaging materials such as boxes, partitions and recycled cardboard bottle shippers. Offices are in the M.A. Silva Corks USA facility in north Santa Rosa, but Vertical isn’t connected to that company, which distributes stoppers for M.A. Silva Corticas of Portugal.

    Mr. Foster co-founded M.A. Silva Corks USA in 2000, and the company has become the fourth-largest North Bay wine stopper distributor, based on employees.

    Mr. Hammond, whose background in consumer packaging includes Encore Glass, Synergy Packaging and Rexam, formed Vertical at the beginning of this year and launched the venture last week.

    For more information, call 707-293-2697 or visit www.verticalglass.com.

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