Where does the all important cork come from? A cork tree, but of course! More precisely from the bark of an oak tree known as the Corkwood. The outer bark can be safely stripped away every nine or so years from a mature tree that is approximately 15-25 years old. Corkwoods are mainly grown and harvested in Portugal and Spain.
Quality wines have corks that are just under two inches long. We see "medium quality" wines with corks measuring under 1 3/4 inches and the even more affordable wines use corks that measure a little over 1 1/2 inches. The best natural corks are made from the bark itself while the lower quality natural corks are made of cork amalgams.
Alternative corks are made of composite plastic of varying quality. With New World wines we are seeing more twist tops.
The question is why are wineries using plastic composites and twist tops?
Because it has been calculated that five to nine percent of of all wines are corked upon arrival to their destination making the loss unaffordable to the wineries.
For all questions please reach out to me at mywineguidemadesimple.com
Cheers - Jerry