ProCork: The Perfect Wine Closure?
Cork taint has long been a problem in the wine industry, affecting anywhere from 1% to 10% of all production depending on who you ask. Cork taint occurs when the TCA molecule contaminates wine, and is usually blamed on faulty natural corks. Numerous solutions have been proposed and enacted, most notably screw caps, which effectively form an airtight seal.
But proponents of natural cork argue that wine will only properly age with a tiny bit of oxygen exposure. Many producers of age-worthy wine are reluctant to use screw caps not only because of this concern, but also for aesthetic reasons. Popping a cork has a connotation of quality that is hard to replace with a screw cap.
In response to this dilemma, an Australian company has introduced a new closure called ProCork which claims to allow a bit of oxygen into the wine but no TCA. According to the company’s website, “ProCork’s permeable membrane is the result of many years of research in food science, cork and robotics technology and will enable natural cork to be used by the wine and beverage industry with the confidence that their products will not be affected by any off character imparted by the cork.”
ProCork is already widely used by the always innovative Australian wine industry, and Decanter.com recently reported that a Bordeaux winery will also begin trials with the closure. Chateau La Dauphine plans to bottle an amount of wine with ProCork and compare its effects regarding aging and TCA taint with wine bottled with natural cork over the next decade. If all goes well, ProCork could offer the best of both worlds for wine consumers.