Audited Quality Standards
The CQC conducts annual audits to verify that all approved QC protocols are observed. The foremost QC measure is screening for TCA, based on the GC/MS analytical method developed by ETS Laboratories. This analytical method is now widely used throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia by members of both wine and cork industries. Other audited procedures involve moisture levels, physical integrity, residual oxidants and the maintenance of documentation.
The CQC Cork Sampling Program is Rigorous
For a typical lot of 100,000 corks CQC guidelines require a minimum sample of 250 corks taken from a selection of at least five separate bales. These corks are placed in 50-cork wine soaks for 24 hours to extract releasable TCA. Resulting soaks are analyzed at ETS Laboratories using a method that reports TCA at concentrations as low as 1 part per trillion. If one of the five soaks indicates TCA as high as 1.5ppt – the entire cork lot is flagged and withheld from inventory.