How to Measure TCA in Every Cork Wine Stopper

Contamination of cork wine stoppers by 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole (TCA) is a serious problem that cannot be resolved by chemical or physical industrial processes.  The only reliable method to prevent taint of bottled wine by stoppers is to screen individual cork stoppers before use. 

This video presents 3 methods to screen individual cork stoppers for TCA contamination:

  1. Sensory testing
  2. Gas chromatography (GC)
  3. TOFWERK Vocus Cork Analyzer

Sensory tasting is a labor-intensive process, and its reliability is undermined by the subjectivity of the analysis, the fatigue of the operators and the associated drop in sensitivity.

The industrial-level gas chromatographic approach is imprecise.  It exploits a low-cost analysis technology with a battery of machines working at extreme speeds, with loss of analytical performance and thus high presence of errors.

The Vocus Cork Analyzer uses a completely different approach, based on the world’s most powerful volatile organic compound (VOC) analyzer – the Vocus PTR-TOF.  Trace concentrations of TCA are quantified in seconds, and the identity of the measured compound is unambiguously confirmed to be TCA by measuring the relative abundances of all of the molecule’s isotopes.  A plethora of other off-flavor compounds normally present in cork can be quantified at the same time.

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