Cork in the bottle? Interview with Carlos de Jesus, marketing and communications director from Amorim, the worlds largest producer of natural cork.
There has been a lot of criticism of cork in recent years, and people arguing that other type of stoppers are better: screw caps, plastic corks etc. Is cork a bad material to close bottles with? Is it better always to use screw caps? Is the cork the ultimate culprit for cork taint, corked wine, wine that tastes bad when opened? But perhaps “the rumour of my death has been highly exaggerated”.
Carlos argues that natural cork (from cork oak trees) is still the best bottle stopper:
Cork is the most used bottle stopper, or closure of any, used in the majority of the 16 or 17 billion bottles produced every year. In recent years Amorim has invested 53 million euros to improve the quality of the corks. They have invested in research, process improvements, training, sophisticated chemical analysis equipment, quality control etc etc, and have today very sophisticated tracking and quality control tools which minimise any problems that there may be with cork.
Carlos explains that 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA that is often said to be the reason for cork taint or ‘corked’ wine bottles) and other anisoles can come from many different sources, not only the cork. A cork stopper has 800 million cells. It comes from a tree that is at least 50 years old (before the first quality harvest). Each tree is then harvested every nine years. We also talk about the oxygen or air transmission between the outside and the wine, through the cork (oxygen ingress) and the oxidising impact that can have on wine.
We also get some views from a cork forest where we see the oak bark (and some cows), as well as newly harvested trees, and a quick visit to a cork factory storage yard. There are huge piles of cork bark drying and waiting to be processed.
This interview was made during a visit to Amorim in connection with the European Wine Bloggers Conference #EWBC 2009 in Lisbon: http://winebloggersconference.org/europe/
Music: El Perez, rumba francesa, http://www.jamendo.com
By BKWine, https://www.bkwine.com
This post is also available in: Swedish