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Saturday 28 May 2016

Cork producers finally admit they had a problem

There is nothing more disappointing than opening a treasured bottle of wine that has been maturing in your cellar and finding it has been destroyed by a dodgy cork.

Corks are, quite simply, a horrible closure for wine. In addition to TCA, which makes a wine taste mouldy and undrinkable, corks can cause oxidation and myriad other problems.

Cork producers, usually Portuguese, have long denied any problems with corks - which is pretty laughable. Now, amazing, a leading cork producer has admitted to problems and claimed it has discovered a solution.

Amorim announced that it has "achieved a major technological breakthrough to become the world’s first cork producer to deliver natural cork stoppers to winemakers with a non-detectable TCA guarantee".

Known as NDtech, the "cutting-edge technology" is spruiked as "greatly enhancing" Amorim’s quality control measures by screening individual cork stoppers on the production line to eliminate the risk of corks contaminated with 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) reaching winemakers.

“Until now, no cork producer has been able to guarantee a quality control system for natural cork stoppers that screens corks individually,” said Amorim’s research and development director Dr Miguel Cabral.

“We have been working to achieve this goal for several years. Now we can examine an individual cork using sophisticated gas chromatography in just seconds, making the technology practical on a major industrial scale.”

So, if the claims are true, corks will finally do the job for which they are designed.

I can hardly restrain my excitement.

The development of the "super-fast" NDtech follows a five-year €10 million research and development investment by Amorim and a partnership with a British company specialising in gas chromatography.

That's a lot of money to spend on a problem that Amorim and other cork producers had long said did not exist.

Here is the altogether more technically knowledgeable and erudite Huon Hooke on the same topic:

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