How cork is made
Making technical corks - part 2 of an illustrated guide to the cork production process

Some cork planks are too think to have natural corks punched from them. So these are sliced into thin strips, which are then used to make discs of natural cork. These are used to make either Champagne corks, or technical corks known as one-plus-ones: a cylinder of agglomerate cork with a disc of natural cork at each end.

These are the discs. They are the portion of the cork in contact with wine (in the case of one-plus-ones) or Champagne. These pictures were taken at Amorim's plant in Coruche, Portugal. The Amorim one-plus-one is called the Twin Top. First produced in the mid-1990s, it has been hugely successful, providing a good quality cork at an attractive price.

The discs are sorted optically.

And then they are marked using heat on the least good side, which is the end that will be glued to the agglomerate portion of the cork.

The agglomerate portion of the cork is made up of what would otherwise be waste cork, ground up into 5-8 mm granules. These granules are then cleaned using a steam process, which removes about 80% of any TCA present.

The granules are combined with polyurethane food-grade glue in an extrusion process, to make rods of cork.

These are then chopped to size, and a disc of cork is applied to each end.

The Twin Tops are then sorted visually and optically

Quality control, testing cork for any contaminants, is an important step in lowering rates of taint as much as possible

Back to part 1: how cork is made

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