A Chilean Barrel Maker Prevents Tainted Wine By Training Dogs

Published on July 26, 2019
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Dogs have long been used to help humans with sniffing out potential problems. Dogs’ superior sense of smell can be trained and used to find drugs, bombs, and other questionable substances. Now, people are turning to dogs in order to sniff out something else…tainted wine.

Training The Dogs
Training The Dogs

Wine barrel producer from Chile TN Coopers has recruited a team of doggies to help search for problematic components and compounds that include trichloroanisole (TCA) and tribromoanisole (TBA). According to Wine Spectator, these compounds can be responsible for which are responsible for causing cork taint.

Cork taint often does come from the cork, naturally, and can cause unpleasant smells and flavors in the wine. These compounds can also affect the whole barrel, marring the wine in early stages of its production and spoiling it completely.

The Dogs Sniff Out Tainted Wine
The Dogs Sniff Out Tainted Wine

Guillermo Calderón, TN’s marketing manager, stated: “The underlying principle is that dogs have a much wider olfactory threshold than humans, and thus can detect very small concentrations of specific compounds just by their sense of smell. Their sense of smell is extremely reliable and rarely ever misses.”

The dog training project, named the Natinga Project, is comprised of five Lab retrievers. They’re called Ambrosia, Odysé, Moro, Mamba, and Zamba
and the work onsite at the cooperage and also are hired directly by wineries that are worried about cork taint complications.

The dogs may even reach the United States soon, Calderón told Wine Spectator. “We have received a lot of positive feedback from Californian winemakers who come to visit us at the cooperage in Chile. I can say for now that we are training a new generation of puppies that will be able to carry on with this initiative for many years to come.”

We are definitely excited at the prospect of more dogs in the United States, especially ones who are saving our precious wines. Can you say win-win?

Chilean Winery
Chilean Winery