Innocork, the product that perfects - Only from Cork Supply South Africa

Thursday, 15 June, 2006
Chris Wium
Cork Supply proudly introduces INNOCORK, a 100% natural cork closure without the risk of TCA. The patented INNOCORK process reduces TCA below detectable levels (below 1.0 ng/L). Shape, elasticity and all other desirable natural cork properties are retained.
What is the INNOCORK Process?
INNOCORK is a unique, patented TCA extraction
process using steam and ethyl alcohol. Corks are loaded into the stainless steel INNOCORK chamber where steam and ethyl alcohol vapor are introduced. The ethyl alcohol attracts the TCA molecules, extracting them from the corks. Pure steam then washes the corks without affecting any of the desirable qualities of natural cork.

What are the results?
The results are ultra-clean premium natural corks with all their natural properties intact but free of TCA. How free? Take a look at the chart below. Cork Supply never ships a natural cork lot with TCA levels above 2.0 ng/L, but with INNOCORK we consistently reach even lower levels. As you can see from the examples in the chart, well below 1.0 ng/L.

The INNOCORK Difference
The INNOCORK process is different from other TCA reduction methods in two important ways. First, it is
designed for 100% natural corks as opposed to granulate used to produce technical corks. Second, it uses steam and alcohol, allowing it to remove far more TCA than steam alone. Deceptively simple, the INNOCORK process took years to perfect, the technical challenge being able to remove TCA while retaining the shape, aesthetics and desirable properties of the natural cork.

Why did we do this?
Since its beginning Cork Supply has led the industry in
setting the world standard for quality. We established stringent quality control measures to assure our clients of the highest quality natural corks available with TCA minimized to less than 2.0 ng/L.

But that wasn’t good enough. With INNOCORK we can offer you perfect natural corks with TCA levels below 1.0 ng/L. INNOCORK, Cork Supply’s latest innovation in natural cork quality. Introducing INNOCORK the process that perfects quantifying improvements in single corks. Individual cork TCA levels before and after INNOCORK, effectiveness of INNOCORK vs. Just Steam.

How much TCA does INNOCORK remove from cork?
The amount of releasable TCA that INNOCORK removes
varies with the amount originally in the corks. Our research shows that in corks with 4.0 to 6.0 ng/L, the amount is 92 percent. For corks with 1.0 to 4.0 ng/L, the amount is 60 percent, and for corks with 1.0 ng/L or less, the amount is 65 percent.

Will running the corks through the process again lower the TCA levels further?
Yes, however, just one pass through the process reduces levels to the neighborhood of 1.0 ng/L, which is already far below levels that would have any effect on wine. Any TCA level below 1.0 ng/L can’t be measured accurately with current technology. Therefore, while the levels would be reduced, the reduction probably couldn’t be measured.

Does the INNOCORK process remove other compounds from cork besides TCA?
Yes, we know from sensory tests that INNOCORK removes other compounds, making more neutral lots of corks. However, our primary goal was the reduction of TCA, so all our efforts were in gauging TCA reduction.

Does the alcohol used in INNOCORK leave any aroma?
No, ethyl alcohol, also know as grain alcohol, is the same type of alcohol produced naturally as wine ferments.

Is the INNOCORK process patented?
Yes, it has received European Patent Publication Nº EP 1444 075 B1.

How long has INNOCORK been in development?
The Cork Supply Group began independent research on methods to remove TCA from cork in 1998. The INNOCORK process has been undergoing test trials since 2002.

What makes the INNOCORK process different from our competitors’ processes?
The INNOCORK process is done on 100% natural corks rather than on cork granulate or cork dust used to make agglomerate corks. INNOCORK also uses a combination of steam and alcohol to volatize TCA from the cork. Does the INNOCORK Process hurt the cell structure of the cork? The cell structure of the natural cork is unaffected by the patented TCA cleansing process.

Does the INNOCORK process cost more?
The INNOCORK process does cost slightly more. However, because we feel this is a critical investment in cork quality and sensory improvements, we do not plan on passing these costs along to our customers.

Click here for the Innocork brochure in PDF format