Meet “Miss Louisa Belle, a Bloodhound who in 2006 was taught to inspect small batches of corks for TCA when they arrived at the winery.
Miss Louisa Belle’s keen sense of smell is able to detect 2, 4, 6-trichloroanisole (TCA), the nefariously odiferous compound responsible for tainting thousands of cork-sealed wines each year. As a reward for spotting a bad cork, she gets a piece pita bread.
Her owner, Michelle Edwards, a winemaker at Cliff Lede Vineyards, and her fiancé, an agricultural scientist and viticulturist, already owned a male English Bulldog and a female French Bulldog when they got Miss Louisa Bell, the daughter of a search-and-rescue dog.
Outside of the winery, Miss Louisa Belle visits the groomer once a week, and supplements her dog food diet with frequent snacks of oil-popped popcorn and lamb. Her hobby is destroying shoes and lingerie–particularly in harvest season. For her next trick, Miss Louisa Belle’s is learning to detect powdery mildew.