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Waterhouse has ly received funding from the Plumpjack Wine Group to study closures, which made waves in by announcing it would bottle its best cabernet sauvignon with screw caps, and he also has received research support from Nomacorc. The bark is boiled, graded and then cut into flanks that will be punched into corks, overall about 12 billion annually.

The company expects to triple its sales this year and would like to open a warehouse facility locally, said Sara Donoso Rathbun, general manager. Your access to the comments has been permanently suspended.

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The improved quality has translated to growth. All the big foreign players have set up their American operations here as well as major distributors targeting the U. Besides M. Those seven also are members of the Cork Quality Council, a trade group that has set minimum standards for testing the quality of the cork.

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But a survey conducted last year by Wine Business Monthly showed the of wineries using natural cork was at 78 percent, about the same level it was 10 years ago. He noted that natural cork manufacturers have become more aware of sources of TCA other than from cork, such as wood pallets and cardboard that can come into a plant.

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We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy. Your access to the comments has been temporarily suspended for the following reason s :. It is expanding locally and reporting revenue growth. Over at M. Silva USA, Foster said the cork market has matured in recent years in the aftermath of the TCA issue and the bankruptcies of a few companies. The U. It counts Williams Selyem and Kosta Browne wineries as clients. February 22, No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks.

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He noted that data for synthetic and screw caps does not go back hundreds of years as for natural cork, so the impact on other key issues, such as oxidation, are not known for the newer entrants. You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at or bill.

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Most of the cork sold in the United States is imported from Portugal and Spain, where bark from the cork oak tree is stripped every nine years for the raw material that ultimately ends up as cork. This icon can be updated by visiting Gravatar.

Cork makes a comeback in wine country

The TCA effects were costly as the natural cork industry slid from a market share of almost 95 percent in the s to currently about two-thirds of the U. Now the industry, which implemented a massive quality control and testing system in response to cork taint, is starting to get some of its swagger back. No off-topic remarks. Please choose a display name and image to use when commenting:. Both sides cite Nielsen data to make their case, though some in the natural cork industry still harbor rough feelings over how the synthetic market has portrayed them, as opposed to the more budget-minded screw cap producers.

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Please note:. No disinformation about current events. During the TCA epidemic, plastic corks took advantage and gobbled up market share with their lower price being another attractive alternative. Silva USA, a Santa Rosa-based business that experienced more than 10 percent revenue growth last year in its cork business.

He noted its business for Portocork and Amorim Cork America have seen double-digit growth in recent years and each has about 15 percent of the U. The lab efforts have paid off in reducing TCA. The council contends its screenings have shown that TCA levels are now 95 percent lower than inwith taint from natural cork down to less than 1 percent.

Cork makes a comeback in Wine Country.

Sonoma magazine

For a product that has been around hundreds of years, the natural cork industry would seem to be the last type of business to have a need to advertise its product in Wine Country. It comes almost 20 years after being placed on the defensive over cork taint tracked to the chemical 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, more commonly known as TCA, a natural compound that has been described as turning the smell of a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc into that of a moldy newspaper.

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That would be an important factor to determine how long a wine can age before it goes bad. But after expanding into the U. Mercader Cork, headquartered in Girona, Spain, has opened an office in Healdsburg to sell directly to wineries, instead of relying on a distributor. Andrew Waterhouse, a professor of enology at UC Davis, said the taint rate is likely around 1 to 2 percent. These can't be changed, choose wisely! Natural cork producers contend their product works for all price ranges, but note that it is especially attractive for winemakers in the premium category in Napa and Sonoma counties as opposed to the more budget-priced wine produced in the Central Valley.

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He noted the key to retaining its 1, customers is through ensuring quality, especially in a business where reputation is everything. Our Network.

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Send a letter to the editor. Naked Wines bottled about 90 percent of its wines with screw caps when it started in the United Kingdom, where such wine closures are popular. After their arrival, members of the council also run the cork through independent laboratory testing in addition to whatever tests the companies do at their own U.

For example, M. Silva USA was one of the first American facilities to get its own gas chromography and mass spectrometry machine to test for TCA, operated by those who have a background in biochemistry. The ad campaign is the most public example. On Twitter BillSwindell. They also are washed and screened and tested before being shipped over to the United States. The company cites studies that show the TCA rate of natural cork is more like 3 to 5 percent. However, it also noted that more wines are bottled with synthetic closures, even though only 10 percent of wineries use them.

For a product such as an iPhone, such a failure rate might be unacceptable for consumers, he noted.

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Independent statistics are not widely available.

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