Twist…pop…pour. The cork releases a gentle river that flows from the tilted wine bottle and swirls into the glass. No matter the language, culture or occasion, people enjoy “popping the cork” and enjoying wine all over the world. In SLO County, the wine culture has been thriving – and growing – for years.
Have you ever stopped to think about just what it takes to keep that delicious nectar at its peak in the bottle? Well, it’s all about the cork!
to Plug the Wine Bottle? Cork
All-natural cork is a unique, sustainable substance that is perfectly suited for stopping the wine bottle.
One cork stopper has over 800 million cells, which act as suction cups against the wine bottle neck. All-natural c
Portugal is Home to a Majority of the World’s Cork Trees
Over 50% of the world’s cork production comes from
A cork tree’s outer layer is cut from the tree and harvested every 9 years after it matures at 52 years. 52 years is how long it takes for the outside bark to grow thick enough for cork bottle stoppers. The first two harvests are used for jewelry, flooring and other cork items. Thus, one man can plant cork trees that his grandchildren will harvest from; making cork farms truly an inheritance. For more information on how cork is harvested read How Cork is Made.
Not all Wine Corks are Created Equal
As you may have guessed, not all wine corks are “all natural cork”. There are actually various types: from 100% natural to cork-dust and glue to all-synthetic corks, each type bringing its own set of pros and cons. The top-grade and most expensive are 100% all-natural cork. Icon and Premium wines, which benefit from aging in the bottle, require a 100% all-natural cork. All-natural cork stoppers are punched directly out of the cork bark, then cleansed and prepared for the wines they are designed to hold back.
Agglomerated corks combine cork bark scraps and glue. However, these corks do not tend to hold up as well, so if you’re buying wine with this type of cork, its best to use the wine within two years. For more information on wine corks read this article on the 5 Main Types of Wine Corks.
With a new appreciation for cork you may be wondering about the other uses for this fully-sustainable, all-natural product. Because it’s “that time of year”, maybe it would be fun to get crafty with your “corks” – here’s a fun horsey craft idea for the Holidays:
Horse Wine Cork Ornament
For Horse Wine Cork Ornament directions follow this link > Wine Cork Horse
All pictures of the horses and cork trees were taken at Polo Equestre de Rio Frio. This cork tree farm also houses one of Portugal’s top level cross country jumping courses.
Looking for places to sip wine which have a connection to horses here in SLO County? Check out our Wine and Whinnies section under PLACES where we’ve visited a few ourselves.
Horse and Cork Photo Credit: Sharon Jantzen