The Portuguese cork industry has always upheld the highest standards of quality in the different production and manufacturing stages, particularly in the production of stoppers, in which a great deal of work has been carried out to identify and eradicate possible defects. In this field, particularly notable is the project Quercus, implemented from 1992 to 1996, on the initiative of C.E. Liège (Confédération Européenne du Liège) initiative. Quercus involved seven countries and several public and private laboratories with an aim to study in greater depth sensorial anomalies related to tainted aromas/tastes in wine. Using suggestions from previous studies and the discoveries of this wide-ranging project, it was possible to increase knowledge of the compounds responsible for this type of anomaly, as well as 2,4,6 – Trichloroanisol (TCA), Tetrachloroanisol (TeCA) and Pentachloroanisol (PCA).

Industry develops many tests to prevent TCA and other problems © by APCOR

These results obtained from the Quercus project gave a clearer idea of the contamination and formation mechanisms of TCA (the most common compound) and helped to formulate the basic rules for prevention. These findings were used to draw up the International Code of Cork Stopper Manufacturing Practice (ICCSMP) , a set of practical norms for the manufacturing of cork stoppers, whose adoption by the industry has helped to achieve standard quality throughout the sector.
The ICCSMP become an international reference in 1997. It is an extremely dynamic code, incorporating every new discovery and technological advance. It is currently in its 6th version.