How cork is made

Just posted an illustrated guide to how cork is made, on the main wineanorak site – here. It’s a very attractive substance. Such a shame about the existence of cork taint, and also the fact that cork isn’t totally consistent. But when it’s good, it can help wines age magnificently.

In neck closures – natural cork, technical cork, synthetic cork – share one property. They have a special dynamic of oxygen transmission. For the first few months after bottling, oxygen dissolved in the body of the closure is released. After this, oxygen transmission proceeds at a uniform rate. This could be important in the way that the wine develops, and is difficult to replicate with a crown cap or screw cap liner.

3 comments to How cork is made

  • Dieter

    What an interesting piece, thanks!
    Do you know whether TCA infection can be detected in the larger slabs of cork and eliminated in bulk, or is it localised whereby a single cork from a piece of bark is infected and others from the same piece of bark is not affected?

  • Good questions. It has been found on cork bark in forests. It’s not possible to spot infected slabs, but some cork slabs are discoloured and then are treated differently – as far as I know.

  • Thanks for the very interesting post. Apart from cork’s technical qualities as a closure, there is also the environmental and social dimension, ie the thousands of acres of cork forest around the Mediterranean (and also further inland) are a significant force in the fight against erosion of topsoil and dessertification.

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