Rich Xiberta— Natural Corks Since 1871
Risks & Prevention of TCA
Critical Point 1
Wood Treated with Pentachlorophenol
Forestry companies have used the penthachlorophenol family to preserve their products against the attach of wood-degrading fungi. The use of PCP’s as fungicides has decreased much in recent years, especially in the cork industry, because of its suspected relationship with TCA. The fungicide was used because of the fungi’s ability to denature lignin, which leads to the degeneration of the structural rigidity of the wood.
The presence of off-odors is not directly related to these compounds, but the fungi, the target for these chemicals, can convert PCP’s into TCA.
RICH XIBERTA Actions
- Avoid using wood materials treated with PCP’s. This is the only way to ensure that TCA does not develop in this fashion.
- No fungicides used in forests in Spain. Rich Xiberta’s forest contracts have not used fungicides on their trees for decades.
Critical Point 2
Dangers of Chlorinated Water Supply
Chlorine is commonly found in city water supplies and can lead to forming chlorophenols in wood. Phenolic compounds are naturally occurring in wood lignin. Chlorine, in the right conditions, will bind to these phenols creating chlorophenols, one being trichlorophenol, the precursor of TCA. After chlorination, these chlorophenols still need to be in the presence of fungus to be changes into chloroanisoles.
RICH XIBERTA Actions
- We do not employ a chlorine-based wash.
Critical Point 3
Transformation Process of the Cork Oak
Chloroanisoles can be found, in different concentrations, within the bark of the cork oak. Chloroanisoles, accoridng to their chemical structures, belong to the group of aromatic ethers. This class of chemicals is extremely volatile, accouting for TCA’s strong presence in low concentrations. In the cork transformation proces, the first step is to boil the bark so that the cork swells and gains its final elasticity. Because of the ether’s volatility, though, chloroanisoles present in the bark before punching can be greatly reduced by the boiling process. After boiling, the corks are washed again. Using dechlorinated water in this step is critical.
Critical Point 4
Controlling the Winery. What to do?
- Avoid frequent splashing of water on walls and perimeter of winery. This can cause a medium of fungal growth.
- Isolate humidity from cardboard boxes and other packages.
- Keep the floor dry in aging area.
- Isolate the barrel washing area and use dechlorinated water.
- Keep cork bags hermetically sealed.
- Keep bottling line clean and well maintained. Appearances of damage on the cork stoppers caused by the jaws of the bottling machine are precursors to leakage, and thus, oxidation and contamination.
Ask Your Cork Supplier
- How are the bark planks cured?
- How many times are the bark planks boiled?
- How long does the boiling process take?
- How often is the water of the boilers changed?
- What type of wash is used?
- How is the cork material transported?