Cork producer Masilva has launched a new technology called Neotech, which is capable of eradicating detectable TCA from cork granules.
Founded in 1972, Masilva has already developed different processes for cleaning corks, such as Onebyone, a screening technology for natural cork stoppers, and Sara Advanced, which uses a combination of steam, heat and pressure to achieve sensory uniformity to levels of 99.66%.
Its new system, called Neotech, is designed to sterilise cork granules. Masilva has invested over €10 million in the project to produce an estimated 400 million micro-agglomerated corks every year.
To support this increased production capacity, it is completing construction of a new facility solely dedicated to the project.
The Neotech process involves selecting cork granules from Masilva’s 100,000sqm raw material centre in Alentejo. These granules are then treated with its “fluidised bed technology” to increase molecular interaction.
A gas is passed over the cork particles, creating conditions for “rapid mixing, turbulence and sterilisation”. This, Masilva says, results in “highly optimised TCA removal for non-detectable levels”.
The process involves no mechanical intervention, but rather the granules are “transported through a process of vibration” preserving their natural elasticity, consistency, natural appearance and cellular structure.
Masilva says Neotech has “homogenous efficiency in all cork granule sizes”.
No chemical solvents are used during the process, instead it relies on the controlled use of both pressure and steam. According to Masilva, the advantages of its new system are that it eliminates granule layering and ensures greater consistency in the performance of the natural features of the cork. It also provides “improved physical properties of the granules”.
Marketed with the tagline “a cork stopper tailor-made to fit your wine”, Masilva’s new Neo corks are available with different oxygen transfer rates and each boast a non-detectable TCA guarantee.
Masilva CEO, José Silva, added: “The Neotech system was developed as an answer to market demands and tendencies, demonstrating our ambition in the pursuit of perfection by obtaining neutrality in all range of Masilva’s products portfolio.”
Last year Masilva generated €80 million in revenue and boasts over 5,000 customers in more than 40 countries. It has four production sites in Portugal and seven finishing units located in Portugal, Spain, France, China, Australia, the US, Chile and Brazil.