There is something exciting about removing the cork from a bottle of wine. The opening of wine often indicates a cause for celebration – be it a happy reminder that the work week is over, maybe that a romantic evening is about to ensue, or perhaps a celebration of something momentous – the purchase of a home, earning a degree, etc. But regardless of the occasion for opening the wine, chances are that in order to drink it you needed to remove the cork. After all, cork has been being used to seal bottles of wine since the early years of civilization.
However, in recent years there have been some wineries that have made the transition to screw tops or plastic lids, citing reasons such as plastic and screw caps being recycled (they rarely are), they are safer for use with wine (not really), and plastic is safe for the environment (since when?). These assumed benefits of non-cork wine closures have caused us to look up some fun and interesting facts about the usage of wine corks.
Interesting Facts about Wine Corks
· Contrary to what you may have heard or read, cork trees are not cut down, they are harvested by hand and only every 9 years.
· There is no shortage of cork; rather, there is enough cork to close all the bottle of wine produced for the next 100 years.
· Usually, a winery opts for screw caps or plastic closures for financial reasons. However, it should also be noted that these closures are not sustainably sourced or biodegradable.
· A cork tree that is harvested of its bark will, over the course of its life, absorb 10 tons more of CO2 than one not harvested.
· Smelling the wine cork will provide you with evidence of what your the first sip of your wine will taste like.
· Because of corks fire resistance, it is now used in rocket technology.
· In the 1600s, a monk named Dom Perignon was using wooden stoppers wrapped in rags to seal his bottles of wine. These crude plugs most often just popped out and were ineffective. He started using corkplugs and successfully stoppered his best wines.
· Spain and Portugal produce over 80 percent to the cork used in the world.
· There are over 5 million acres of cork forest in the world and over thirty percent of that area is in Portugal.
· The entire cork making process could very well last a year.
So, the next time you open a bottle of wine be thankful for the cork. After all, it is helping to seal in the fabulous flavors. The Bear Claw Vineyards team looks forward to being a part of your celebrations, as our wines become readily available in 2017 and 2018.