Cork suppliers step toward TCA-free future

5th May, 2016 by Lauren Eads

Natural cork producers are ramping up their efforts to stay ahead of alternative closure suppliers with the development of new technology that promises to eliminate TCA cork taint.

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Miguel Cardozo, global business director at MASILVA Portugal

While the percentage of natural cork closures affected by TCA has declined dramatically in the past decade, it continues to impact a very small percentage of global cork production. Presently, most natural cork suppliers carry out sensory testing on corks which involves a human nose testing individual corks for traces of TCA. This is not only time consuming and expensive, but invites the possibility for human error.

Now, cork producers are taking the next steps to becoming entirely TCA-free, using technology that claims to offer a 100% success rate in detecting and eradicating TCA. Both MaSilva Portugal and Cork Supply have invested in machines that check each individual cork for traces of TCA using cutting edge gas spectroscopy technology.

Moving toward a TCA-free future

MASILVA Portugal launched its One by One service for ultra-premium wines in January, offering suppliers the assurance of 100% TCA-free corks.
Each cork is individually tested for TCA to “un-detectable” levels of 0.5ng/l, eliminating bad corks from the supply….

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8 Responses to “Cork suppliers step toward TCA-free future”

  1. I love drinks business

  2. John Casey says:

    How can you have a TCA concentration of 0.5 ng/L in a cork? A litre of cork, or maybe 0.5 ng per cork. or 0.5 ng/L of ‘Releasable TCA’.

  3. Marcelo Sola says:

    Cork will always be a flawed closure. Even if TCA-less, premature oxidation, far more common than TCA, will remain a problem unsolved.

    • John Casey says:

      The premature oxidation problem has been solved. It has nothing to do with the physical or chemical properties of cork. It is caused by the incorporation of variable amounts of air and/or oxidants at the time of bottling and inadequate levels of sulfur dioxide.

  4. Vintage says:

    Big step forward will happen when Cork industry won’t need to kill cork to get rid of TCA, and will separate contaminated cork bark at manufacturing
    stage, not when corks are finished. Who is going to use the bad corks? Separate roten apples from good apples before they are squeezed into juice and only take aspirins if you have headaches.

  5. Ricardo Santos says:

    Electronic releasable TCA on the Cork surface? Cork cells are only air tight only untill it is squeezed from 24 to 15mm. They will then explode and no more controls are possible. Are you serious? Shouldn’t wine people cross check this?

  6. John Casey says:

    Premature oxidation is not caused by cork, but by the erratic incorporation of air and oxidants at the time of bottling. See ‘The random oxidation myth’, Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker, May, 2010.

  7. John Casey says:

    It is my opinion that TCA in corks and a range of other food products, packaging, wooden pallets, timber flooring and dwellings and shipping containers is largely an environmental problem caused by the profligate use of chloro-phenols as biocides dating from around the 1960s

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