Famed Napa Valley Winemaker Wants to Make “Corked” Wines a Thing of the Past

Shafer Vineyards has developed an innovative new cork technology…

Tired of your best bottle of wine turning out tainted? Shafer Vineyards’ innovative cork technology ends the torment of trichloroanisole (TCA)—the corrupting compound that can vanquish even the finest of vintages to “corked” ignominy. The highly esteemed Napa Valley vintner is targeting TCA on multiple fronts in the battle for bottle integrity, teaming up with two cork suppliers, Diam and Portocork, as well as securing its own perimeter at the point of production.

For its Merlot and Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, for example, Shafer relies on capping material from Diam, which grinds natural cork and subjects it to a process that eliminates TCA at the molecular level before shaping the stopper. For the showcase Syrah and Petit Sirah blend, Relentless, as well as its One Point Five and Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignons, Shafer pairs with Portocork. The latter relies on state-of-the-art screening that individually inspects each cork with gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis and rejects any that prove positive for the spoiling agent. Both Diam and Portocork provide a TCA-free guarantee.

Finally, on the home front, Shafer has taken active measures to minimize the pollutant’s presence by installing an air-purification system (the same found on the former Mir space station) and removing common sources of introduction, such as wood and cardboard. But, while Shafer’s groundbreaking strides to end the travesty of cork taint are tremendous, only time will tell if TCA has seen its last day. (shafervineyards.com)





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