Wine suppliers and retailers are being asked to help finance the quest for a solution to a £100m problem. The sum is the industry's estimate of what it loses each year through corked wines. Companies are being asked to pay £2,500 each to fund research into what causes spoiled or tainted wines. Some companies, including major multiples, have already signed up in principle. The research is being co-ordinated by the Wine and Spirit Association which has appointed Camden and Chorleywood Food Research Association to carry it out. WSA executive secretary John Corbet-Milward said: "We are keen to have as many wine traders involved as possible. The greater the number, the cheaper it will be for all." The big issue is mustiness, mainly caused by trichloroanisol (TCA) and usually called cork taint, although it is widely acknowledged it can come from many sources, including corks. Corbet-Milward hopes to use the wine buying departments of the multiples which taste several hundred wines a week. Two buyers from each company will be trained to assess TCA taint. This will be checked and the data passed on to the research association. The aim is to build up a reference library of thousands of samples which will identify hot spots where taint problems are occurring and put an accurate figure on how much it is costing the trade. The training sessions for the buyers will begin in January and the WSA is hoping to make preliminary results available at next year's London International Wine and Spirit Fair. Full results should be available early in 2002. The initiative came from a seminar on closures run at this year's fair by the WSA. {{DRINKS }}