Following a technological breakthrough, Amorim will become the world’s first cork producer to deliver natural cork stoppers with a non-detectable TCA guarantee.

The new technology, known as NDtech, enhances 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.

“We have been working to achieve this goal for several years. Now we can examine an individual cork using sophisticated gas chromatography in seconds, making the technology practical on a major industrial scale,” Amorim’s research and development director Dr Miguel Cabral said.

Previously, gas chromatography examination took up to 14 minutes, making it impossible to use on production lines.

Two wine industry research facilities — Hochschule Geisenheim University and The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) —have been engaged to independently validate the performance of NDtech.

“Amorim’s NDtech has been validated by Geisenheim and we are confident AWRI validation will soon follow, which will make it the only TCA-specific technology to receive validation from both organisations,” Cabral said.

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.

NDtech can detect any cork with more than 0.5 nanograms of TCA per litre (parts per trillion). These corks are removed from the production line automatically.

NDtech will initially be applied to Amorim’s top-end natural cork stoppers used on some of the world’s most valuable wine brands. Australian wineries are among the first to be offered corks that have undergone NDtech screening.

“The initial response from winemakers has been as positive as we had anticipated, especially given the important role that premium packaging has for fine wine exports to crucial markets such as the US and China,” said Amorim Australasia’s national sales and marketing manager Tim Stead.

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