Calling it a major breakthrough, Portugal-based Cork Supply has introduced a two-step extraction process that guarantees all of its natural cork stoppers are 99.85 percent TCA-free with no off-aromas, a figure the company claims has not been achieved “anywhere else in the world.” All cork stoppers are put through both technological processes at no extra cost to customers.
The company says the process, known as the InnoCork Circuit, is conducted in two phases. The corks are first heated to 85°C in a 24-hour cycle, in which steam distillation removes TCA. After that, the corks are heated again to 65°C in a one-hour cycle, using steam and an ethanol distillate to remove any remaining residual particles.
According to Joe Smahl, a spokesperson in the company’s Benicia, Calif., facility, Cork Supply USA, the InnoCork Circuit process takes place at Cork Supply’s facilities in Portugal, and all the natural corks received and shipped from the Benicia plant have gone through the process.
If 99.8 percent TCA-free cork is still not pure enough for some Cork Supply customers, they can request additional evaluations, known as DS100 and DS100+. In these processes, each individual cork is tested and analyzed for TCA, “either by persons with hypersensitive olfactory organs whose precision cannot be surpassed (DS100), or by means of a highly sensitive computer program (DS100+),” according to a company statement.