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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, December 9, 2013, 6:00 am

North Coast Wine Industry Awards 2013: M.A. Silva USA has 30% sales growth

Category: Supplier

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    M.A. Silva USA is a North American distributor of premium natural cork, bottles and packaging for the wine industry. It’s partly owned by leaders of Portuguese producer M.A. Silva Cortiças.

    M.A. Silva USA was ranked No. 4 on the Business Journal‘s list of North Bay wine cork and stopper suppliers, based on about 30 employees. The company added bottles and other wine packaging in 2010.

    The company has a full-service mechanical and organoleptic (sensory) test lab, housed in its 30,000-square-foot north Santa Rosa facility, which was built in 2006.

    M.A. Silva is a vertically integrated operation, from forest management in Portugal to in-house technology processes and training.

    “We continue to make significant advances toward eliminating TCA issues while simultaneously improving the beauty and performance of our closures,” Neil Foster, president and owner of M.A. Silva USA. “Our glass offerings include proprietary molds for consistent quality, cork-to-bottle fit.”

    What have been recent highlights for your company?

    Neil Foster

    Neil Foster: M.A. Silva USA has experienced a 30 percent increase in business. Along with this growth, we have recently hired staff in customer service, glass purchasing and logistics, and within our lab and marketing departments.

    Our M.A. Silva team is humbled and honored being awarded and recognized twice in one year in the “best supplier” category in the North Bay Business Journal and in another leading trade magazine (Vineyard & Winery Management) as well.

    How much has your operation changed in the past few years?

    Mr. Foster: In the last few years M.A. Silva began to offer an extensive signature glass collection that complements our cork closures. We realized the need and importance for the perfect cork-glass connection and function of the two products working together successfully. This gives winemakers an opportunity t:o be involved in deciding upon one of a kind custom glass molds in their beverage packaging process.

    What does your sales demand say about the health of the local wine business?

    Mr. Foster: M.A. Silva continues to see a strong demand for corks and glass and foresees continued growth. Off-premise wine sales during the 52 weeks ending in October rose 7 percent compared with a year earlier, according to the latest Information Resources reports. Wineries are also yielding a higher 2013 grape tonnage, which will translate into higher cork and glass sales for 2014.

    What are the top three opportunities and challenges facing your business?

    Mr. Foster: M.A. Silva will continue to seek out new innovative opportunities in laboratory testing and cork printing techniques to ensure the best quality and control in our product lines. With continuous growth and change, there are always challenges and this is something our team has become accustomed to. Our direction and priority is to stay focused on our customer’s needs and continuous improvement.

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