ST. HELENA -- Societe d'Application de Recherche de Conseil en Oenologie (SARCO), an analytical laboratory based in the Bordeaux winegrowing region of France, today said it made a minority investment in Napa Valley Think Tank, allowing the 7-month-old company to bring a new line of wine-quality testing services to market more quickly.

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"Forming a partnership with SARCO helps us to bring new analyses and new services to our customers more quickly," said managing partner Andy Erickson about the undisclosed amount invested.  "At the same time, the constant drive to continually experiment and improve on what we are doing in Napa is exciting. I think both sides have a lot to offer one another, and the partnership will bring a fresh perspective to the quantitative side of winemaking."

Napa Valley Think Tank started in August just as harvest was starting. Initially, the company offered wine-testing analyses as well as winemaking supplies and tools.

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Early this year, the startup started developing a new range of analytical services to expand beyond traditional harvest-related analyses. The new services include phenolic, aromatic and microbiology testing. These include testing for trichloroanisole (TCA), a common "cork taint" culprit, as well as ethyl phenol (4EP/4EG) plus analyses of aroma and flavor and for export.

"Investing in NVTT solidifies our commitment in the region and gives us a front-seat in the winemaking mecca of Napa Valley," said Luc Laffort, director general of SARCO's parent company, Laffort SA.

Laffort has a sales office in Sonoma, led by General Manager Charlotte Gourraud. U.S. distributors of SARCO products include Napa Fermentation Supplies.