This is the number of necks of wine and champagne closed every year in the world, 70% of which with cork.
With this eternal problem of a material whose use dates back to the Roman Empire: to avoid the “corky taste”, which still spoils 3% of wines.
A challenge that the Portuguese king of cork, the Amorim group (800 million euros in turnover, including 584 in the corks) tackled twelve years ago.
In 2016, the 150-year-old family business had already succeeded in eliminating by chromatographic sorting all corks containing too much TCA, the compound responsible for the musty taste of corked wines.
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Now, this cork maker, who produces 5.4 billion units per year, is spending the second with two new techniques that directly extract almost all of the TCA from cork.
Which makes it undetectable.
Above all, where its previous technology (NDtech) remained reserved for the greatest vintages, these innovations (Naturity and Xpür) are intended to be more economical and less energy intensive.
Enough to treat 1 billion corks per year, instead of 80 million, and democratize this taste protection among wine growers.
But also to restore its letters of nobility to a neglected material.
Between 2000 and 2009, cork stoppers lost a third of their market share in favor of screw caps or their synthetic counterparts, only to close six out of ten bottles.
Thanks to the efforts of several corkers, the trend was reversed in 2010, a cork that the Amorim intend to push… a little further still.