Sustainable Agriculture

Can bad cork make a wine taste moldy?
Answered by Larry Stone
  • Larry Stone

    Larry Stone

  1. Larry Stone Master Sommelier, President Evening Land Vineyards


    Yes, the cork is giving it off because the cork got moldy when it was being aged. They peel the barks off. Sometimes they used to leave it in the dirt, and it would get rained on, and it would grow mold. So anywhere you have mold you can have TCA. For example, there are airports, like Stapleton Airport in Denver, if you go there in winter, especially the part where United is, the terminal, the entrance way can get a very strong TCA smell, which we call corkiness, but it's really this trichloroanisole smell.

    It's because when people go in, the salt from their boots gives off sodium chloride, so half of it is chlorine, and then water gets mixed in with it, and mold grows, you know, little microscopic fungi. It's fungus in contact with chlorine that in their biochemistry create TCA. So you find it on egg cartons, you find it in the environment everywhere, but when it's in wine it's particularly nasty, because it really destroys the flavor of wine. If you have it in your eggs, when you cook

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