A report by Liza B Zimmerman on the Wine-Searcher website reveals that the world’s largest cork maker Amorim has developed a technique called NDtech (short for “non-discernable”), which uses gas chromatography to detect any cork with 0.05 nanograms of TCA per litre and removes it from the production line.
A spokesman for the company says “There should be no TCA in natural cork by 2020.”
18 years ago I visited Amorim’s factory in Portugal and later had dinner with CEO Antonio Amorim, who explained how they had accepted a small amount of cork taint in their closures and expected their cork distributors to manage the problem. However, the recent acceptance of alternative closures posed a threat to their market and reducing cork taint would help to retain the loyalty of cork customers.
They had invested in gas chromatographs to detect the presence of TCA, the chemical that causes cork taint, and as a result had modified production methods, which helped them reduce cork taint by around 50%. Changes to cork production included changing the water between batches of cork bark during the washing process and using metal rather than wooden pallets to hole sheets of cork bark during the drying process – wooden pallets were found to be infected with TCA.
The Diam closure also claims to have eliminated cork taint by grinding cork into small chips and treating them with supercritical CO2 to extract the volatile compounds, including TCA, which give a taste to the wine. The chips are then glued together to form a cork-like plug. In 2015 Diam released a new product, Origine, which uses a beeswax emulsion and binding agent composed of 100% plant-derived polyphenols.
The prospect of TCA-free corks is good news. I doubt that it will encourage many screwcap and Diam users to switch to cork but it should slow the current rate of defectors from cork to alternative closures.
Meanwhile, if you do come across a bottle of wine that’s corked try wrapping a plastic supermarket shopping bag around a teaspoon and use it to stir the wine. According to the Australian Wine Research Institute, much of the TCA will bind to a polymer in the plastic and significantly reduce the level of cork taint. Trust me, it works.
Featured Image courtesy of http://www.parexcellencemagazine.com/food-wine/facts-about-wine-corks.html
Kia Ora Herdies!
We were privileged enough to take part in the launch of TUKU wines earlier this month. The focus is on indigenous winemakers coming together in a collaboration, looking to take the story of Māori wine to the world and increase New Zealand wine’s presence in the international market. While they are setting their sights overseas however they have their feet planted on the ground here in New Zealand.
The five brands that have united are Steve Bird Wines, Kuru Kuru, te Pā, Tiki and Ostler and they have formed this coalition on the backbone of their shared values of land, family and hospitality. TUKU wine collective know the importance of bringing their diverse iwi origins together and investing in the production of good wine, while promoting growth and success for generations to come.
They are not only certified by Sustainable Winegrowing NZ but are focused on nurturing the land, ensuring it is possible that generations to come can experience Aotearoa the same way that they have. The family behind te Pā for instance has been on the same land for the last 800 years. And they are using their past to look to the future, ensuring they do what they can now so they can be there for another 800 years.
So get behind these inspiring brands. Buy their wines and promote their desire to further develop the Māori economy and New Zealand wine industry. We want to do our bit to support this exciting venture, so look out for our Winoceros TUKU pack.
If you are currently attempting Dry July, we are thinking of you as we continue to drink this month (albeit more moderately than usual). We commend your efforts but believe that even twelve months don’t allow enough time to try all the amazing wine New Zealand has to offer.
We did try to showcase as much NZ wine as possible at Winetopia last month though. And we would like to thank everyone who gave us support at our stand. It was a great couple of days and we would not have been so successful without your determination to try our game, especially if you came up to us while the band was blasting their tunes- and our ear drums.
It seemed that everyone who tried out our game had fun and learnt a bit more about New Zealand wine along with their palate. From the competitive friends and couples, to the beginners, to the wine tasting experts, there were smiles all round. Whether it was a familiar or a new variety everyone was determined and considering that some of the wines were unusual we were impressed by the number of participants who got two or more aromas correct.
The whole premise of Winoceros is to encourage the New Zealand public to think about what you are drinking, to profile the wine yourselves; for you to feel comfortable talking about wine with your friends and family. We only had positive responses at Winetopia and we are always open to any feedback from our consumers. We also encourage further practise at wine profiling through the purchase of our wine packs via our website. They are perfect on a winter’s night at home with friends and family, or as gifts! Go on.
Here’s to vinous promiscuity.