NDtech, Amorim’s new TCA-screening technology for natural corks, is a “game changer”, according to the company’s chairman, Antonio Amorim.
Speaking to the drinks business in Portugal on Tuesday this week, Antonio described NDtech, which follows a €10 million investment in stopper-screening technology, as “a game changer”.
Each NDtech cork comes with a non-detectable TCA guarantee, meaning that if there is any remnant of TCA in the cork, it is below the detection threshold of 0.5 nanograms/litre.
Presently, Amorim has the capacity to screen up to 50 million corks annually, but Antonio told db that the demand for the new guarantee meant that he could already sell five times that number.
In the long term, Antonio stated he wanted every natural cork produced by Amorim to come with a non-detectable TCA guarantee.
“One day I need to get the whole of our production guaranteed, that is our ambition – we cannot have faulty products in the market,” he said, adding, “We will get there, it is just a question of scaling up, although some of our customers are saying that they don’t need NDtech, because they have no quality issues.”
To give every natural cork produced by Amorim the NDtech non-detectable TCA guarantee, the producer would have to increase the number of screening machines, and the speed at which they operate substantially: Amorim sells 1 billion natural corks annually.
NDtech uses gas chromatography to screen each natural cork for TCA. Currently, the patented machines can scan each cork in 20 seconds, which is significantly less than the 14 minutes for standard gas chromatography technology.
NDtech is being used alongside Amorim’s existing preventive, curative and quality control measures, including the patented ROSA Evolution treatment.