Cork as the culprit

Cork as the culprit

wine_cork_v2Have you been affected by the presence of cork taint? Have aromas of wet dog, musty basement, or moldy newspaper ever stunned your eagerly anticipating nose?

If so, you could be one of the seven in every hundred American imbibers that will be exposed to the defect in wine known as 2,4,6-trichloroanisole. Since nobody can remember or say that so we use "TCA" for short.

The good news is that the airborne fungus is harmless—to the body at least. If someday making your wine is a dream you’ve harbored, be sure to dream-weave some disciplined sterilization into that vision. If left to its own devices TCA can take over an entire winery from the gutters to the barrels to the hoses. In some cases, entire cellars have been torn down and rebuilt to completely do away with the pesky invader.

In addition to vigilant fungi-phobia around the winery, one way many producers are avoiding the problem is by using screw caps to seal their bottles–removing the risk of a tainted cork altogether.

Cork taint isn’t always easy to diagnose, but next time you suspect a bottle isn’t everything you remembered you might have found your culprit.

TCA isn't the only flaw that could be tainting your wine. Visit the Winecyclopedia to learn about other common flaws in wine.

Photo by Angelo DeSantis from Berkeley, US (wine cork Uploaded by AVIA BavARia) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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