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Created in the Corridor: Repour

Repour on display at First Avenue Wine House in Cedar Rapids. The product is available in packages of one, four, ten and seventy-two.

Wine has been called nectar of the gods and connoisseurs keep cellars stocked with many varietals. But even if you’re a casual wine lover, you share an age-old problem with trained wine professionals--how to keep an open bottle from going bad. A local scientist seems to have a solution Created in the Corridor.

Tom Lutz, 39, has a PhD in chemistry, an MBA in business and a palate for fine wine. He knows that when you first open a bottle you should let it breathe. But he likes to call oxygen the “frenemy” of wine. “It’s a friend. It opens it up, makes it taste great…for a while,” explained the father of two. “And then you start the degradation process. Once you cork it you leave the extra oxygen in there (and) wine goes bad.”

A serial entrepreneur who loves to solve problems, Lutz came up with the idea for a product he calls Repour about two-and-a-half years ago. “It’s really kind of brought all my different business and life experiences together which has been a really fun project.”

Repour is an innovative wine stopper that’s also a wine saver unlike any other on the market. It doesn’t just displace the air in the bottle that’s near the wine, it absorbs the oxygen in the air and in the wine itself, effectively keeping wine fresh for days, weeks and even months.

“We’ve designed a very robust seal with the bottle so no air gets in. So once the oxygen is sucked out of the bottle, the bottle is sealed tight and it basically gets locked into a phase almost as if you’ve never opened the bottle in the first place,” said Lutz.

It took about a year’s worth of research and development for Lutz to get to the prototyping phase at BeraTek Industries in Cedar Rapids which is now manufacturing Repour. Just this past May they made their first shipment to Brookstone, a retail chain with 150 locations across the country. “As product was coming off the line we were shipping it right out,” Lutz said, “so as fast as we could make it we were shipping it.”

BeraTek’s President, Gerald Beranek, is an inventor himself and offers design, prototype and manufacturing services to other entrepreneurs with promising ideas. “I like (Repour) because there’s nothing else like it. I knew it would sell well once (Tom) got it. Just from a wine stopper perspective there’s nothing else like it.”

Repour has been good for business at Brewhemia in the Newbo District. The local hot spot sells wine by the glass and often there is some left over in the bottles. “In the old days we would just dump the wine or use it in cooking and try to repurpose it somehow,” explained owner Steve Shriver. Now he can keep selling it. “We’re saving money. It comes down to that.”

Tested by experts, Repour is getting rave reviews on Amazon. You can also find it in Cedar Rapids at First Avenue Wine House, Vineria Wine Shop and Benz Beverage Depot, along with Cedar Ridge Winery and Secret Cellar in Swisher.

Lutz is grateful. “There’s just this interplay of support that happens in this community which is really pretty tremendous.”

One Repour is good for one full bottle of wine and a single unit retails for about $2.00. They’re also available in packages of four, ten and seventy-two for restaurants. You can find a lot more information HERE.

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