Legal Implications of TCA Contamination in Wine Corks

This case study explores a legal dispute between a winemaker and a wine cork producer over alleged TCA contamination causing damage or spoilage to the wine.

ByExpert Institute


Published on February 6, 2024

Wine corks

Case Overview

This case study delves into a legal dispute between a winemaker and a wine cork producer, highlighting the critical role of quality control in the wine industry.

The conflict originated from a contract where the cork producer assured the winemaker their corks would be devoid of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), commonly known as cork taint. This chemical compound is known for inducing musty aromas and flavors in wines, even when present in minuscule quantities.

It was alleged that the corks provided by the winemaker were not TCA-free, causing damage or spoilage to the wine. This case revolves around industry standards for TCA contamination in wine production.

Questions to the Food and Beverage expert and their responses


What is your experience in wine cork production as it relates to TCA or cork taint industry standards?

I've held leadership positions at the Cork Quality Council for over two decades. During my tenure, I led research and development for what is now world accepted protocol for detecting TCA and have designed testing protocols for TCA screening, now standard for the industry in the US.


What amounts of TCA, if any, are typically acceptable in winemaking corks?

TCA detection level is about 1-2 parts per trillion (ppt). Depending on the type of cork used, TCA can transfer to wine at rates ranging from 30% to 100%.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I have reviewed a case regarding TCA contamination for an insurance company. I am well-versed in the complexities of such cases and would be more than capable of reviewing this case as well.

About the expert

This expert has a comprehensive background in the wine and corking industry, including a significant tenure as the Executive Director of a prominent Cork Quality Council. They have also held leadership roles at various vineyards and advertising distributors, further enhancing their understanding of the sector. Currently, they leverage this expertise as the proprietor of a marketing consultation company specializing in the wine industry.

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