Media Release June 3, 2020
SENSORY TESTING BY AWRI PREDICTED PROCORK’S TOP PERFORMANCE 17 YEARS LATER
Testing commissioned by ProCork, a Portugal-based wine closure company, at Australia’s premier wine testing organisation, the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), seventeen years ago gave ProCork’s product a clean bill of health. Now the same bottles show remarkable consistency and aging without oxidation after being found in a cellar seventeen years later.
Natural cork with ProCork semi-crystalline membrane (left) compared to natural cork
Seventeen years of cellaring
Sensory testing by eight AWRI sensory panel members found no bottle variation or a perceptible level of taint or other off flavour irregularities in the 24 samples tested after nine months cellaring. (A full copy of the AWRI report is available upon request).
ProCork chief executive officer Gregor Christie said the results of the AWRI testing had given the company the confidence to push forward with plans to have its closure commercially available and it proved to be right.
“Those results were a real shot in the arm for us and proved we had a product destined to be a major player in the global market for wine closures,” Dr Christie said.
“Our own testing had been extremely positive but to have independent verification by an authority like the AWRI gave us a tremendous amount of confidence to continue with our plans.”
The team of scientists, engineers and industry professionals at ProCork has now spent more than twenty years developing the technology to reduce the fear of “cork inconsistencies” thereby enabling natural cork to be used with confidence and showcase its environmental attributes.
The technology revolves around the semi-crystalline membrane that is applied to each end of the cork that significantly reduces flavour modification and reduces chemicals entering the wine, regulates the passage of oxygen through the cork and retains cork moisture resulting in less cork breakage.
The new technology enables natural cork to be used by winemakers with high certainty that the membrane will reduce any off character imparted by the cork.
The primary taints/off flavours which were tested by AWRI included TCA (trichloroanisole), oxidation, volatile acidity, sulfide and cork wood/tannin.
Dr Christie said the sensory panel provided a rigorous benchmark and to have all scores below the barely perceptible level was a tremendous result.
“The consistency from bottle to bottle was extremely good,” Dr Christie said. “This proves to us that cork can be a great product and our membrane makes it certain.”
Those results were unveiled by ProCork at a Winemakers Forum held by the Victorian Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development and its first customers were signed up and they are still customers fifteen years later.
Dr Christie, a former CSIRO scientist, had told the forum ProCork had the simple goal of being the preferred closure for wine makers and wine drinkers and that is still the same today.
“We want the people who make wine to be confident their hard work is rewarded when consumers open their wine and taste it as it was made to taste,” he said. “We also want consumer’s to purchase wine confident the product will taste just as the wine maker intended.”
While synthetic and screw-cap closures have made inroads into the market it has slowed significantly.
“Cork is a wonderful product, it has been an integral part of the winemaking process for 400 years and will always be the preferred choice of both wine makers and wine consumers,” he said.
“But as with all elements of the wine making process, from growing to crushing to barreling, it is not good enough to accept that because that is the way it has always been done that is the way it should always be.
ProCork Pty Ltd
Chief Executive Officer
+61 410 71 70 81
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AWRI 24 Bottle Sensory Analysis Trial
Sensory analysis conducted by AWRI on July 4, 2003.
Blind tastings with eight AWRI sensory panel members.
The first figure represents the average score of AWRI panel using sensory analysis. The scale used was a ten point equal interval scale from 0 to 9; where 1 corresponds to just detectable, 5 to moderate intensity, and 9 to a very strong intensity.
Samples with mean scores less than 1.0 across the whole tasting panel are considered not to be affected by the fault or taint.
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