Europe’s first major trial of a natural cork closure which claims to stop cork taint in wine, got underway this week in Bordeaux.

Chateau La Dauphine in the Fronsac region agreed to bottle 300 wines under ProCork and compare them against 300 stored under natural cork. They will be tasted once a year over 10 years.

Gregor Christie, inventor and director of ProCork, says his cork uses a system of extremely fine layered polymer crystalline membranes on each end of the cork.

These allow oxygen in, but block the TCA molecule, the cause of cork taint in up to 5% of wines worldwide.

ProCork was founded in Australia in 2002 but uses cork sourced in Portugal.

Christie told decanter.com the lack of oxygen from screwcaps can cause a reduced flavour in wines. ‘ProCork lets in just a tiny bit less air than a normal cork, which is what our trials have found work best.’

He added, ‘The constant press about TCA makes people nervous about wine. It is not good for the industry.’

About 100 wineries in Australia are now using ProCork commercially, and another 50 are doing trials. Chateau La Dauphine is the first premium wine trialling the cork in Europe.

ProCork is financing the trials.

Written by Jane Anson