On February 24, 2021, Amorim Cork Portugal, the world's largest cork company, released the company's financial results for 2020.
Image courtesy of: Wine Research
Against the extremely unfavorable backdrop of the global pandemic of the New Crown epidemic, the Company achieved full-year sales revenue of €740 million (approximately RMB 6.0 billion), down 5.2% from 2019 (€781 million, approximately RMB 6.2 billion in 2019), of which €527.3 million (approximately RMB 4.2 billion) was from cork sales, down 5.7% from 2019, with sparkling wine corks down 9%, cork corks for spirits down 5% and cork corks for still wines down 4%. But sales of NDTECH natural cork, the ace product of the entire Group, increased by almost 10 million corks compared to 2019, with a strong 12% increase in micro-grain cork. All markets except the US and Argentina saw declines.
Traditional cork is vulnerable to TCA contamination, leading to a decline in sales
According to relevant statistics, about 5-10% of wines are affected by the cork taste of the cork every year. In fact, the main and most common factor that causes wine spoilage is cork contamination.
Cork contamination means that the cork of the bottle is contaminated with the chemical TCA (trichloroacetic acid), which in turn contaminates the wine and gives it a musty, rotten, damp smell.
As we all know, the cork is known as the patron saint of wine, and is also considered the most ideal wine bottle stopper. Its hardness and density should be moderate, with good flexibility and elasticity, and a certain degree of permeability and stickiness. Once the wine is bottled, the only medium of contact between the wine body and the outside world is the cork. Therefore, once the cork is contaminated, the wine will definitely be contaminated, and the traditional cork is actually difficult to resist the contamination of TAC (trichloroacetic acid), although the overall view of the contaminated wine is only a minority, but because of its taste experience is too bad, many winemakers and distributors have chosen synthetic cork or screw cork, to avoid the potential risks of using cork.
Develop new type of wine stopper to seize market share
Because of this weakness of traditional wine cork, cork manufacturers are certainly not unmoved by the DIAM wine stopper, which can remove the main contaminant TCA (trichloroacetic acid), was developed.
The DIAM stopper is a product developed on the basis of micro-grain stoppers, in which cork particles are made into powder form, then the TCA (trichloroacetic acid) and other components that cause defective odors are extracted from them, and the powder is reshaped into a wine stopper, which has the advantage of eliminating the cork taste and has a great improvement in the consistency of oxygen permeability, as well as the technical consistency of the quality characteristics of the wine stopper. There are no differences in the quality of the wine during the aging process due to the differences in the wine stopper.
This cork with special features, nowadays more than 1 billion of them are produced every year, with a growing market share, especially in the field of white wines, which are most affected by aromatic defects. Many famous white wine producers do not hesitate to choose this high-tech wine stopper, the only one that does not pose a cork taste problem. However, there are some winemakers who say that the Diam cork is too tightly sealed, making it difficult for the wine in the bottle to evolve and develop aged flavors.
Therefore, the combination of cost and prospect, the treatment of wine stoppers with anti-TCA is still a young technology and the industry is divided. But there is no doubt that the prevention of TCA contamination could revolutionize the wine industry.