Boutique Wine 101

Boutique Wine 101
Author: Apriena Pummer
Date created: 2014/09/03

Natural Cork versus Composite Cork


In the age of a “greener” life, I think we all appreciate how society is slowly turning towards Mother Nature once again for nurturing but when it comes to closures for wine, this may not be the case …


​TCA, or 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, is a by-product of a fungal reaction found in natural cork batches that causes wine to be “corked” or to have cork taint. This is when the wine has taken on a mouldy cardboard or wet dog odour and taste as a result of fungal activity reacting with the cork itself. This unfortunately can affect between 5 and 9% of all bottles produced with natural cork closures – a considerable amount. The producer and the consumer both suffer, especially when the wine was costly or had been matured for some time!


Composite corks are 100% reliable and still constructed from natural cork but just from smaller pieces rather than a whole section of bark. The “minced” pieces of cork are treated against TCA before being glued back together to form the composite cork that offers a much safer closure.


Human beings love a ritual. The ritual of pulling a cork has been part of the wine experience for a very long time – since the 1600s. Composite corks allow us to continue to enjoy the ritual of pulling the cork and passing it along around the table without the embarrassment of the wine being corked, especially at a special dinner or function. However, the most important aspect of this product is being able to protect all the hard work and dedication that went into the vineyards and cellar before the wine reached your table.