How a wine cork is made

There are three types of cork that can be used on wine bottles:

  • Natural cork, which comes from the bark of cork oak trees.
  • Micro-Agglomerate, which is constructed from sterilised natural micro-granules that are pressed together and sealed with an adhesive.
  • Synthetic, made from synthetic resin and designed to look like a natural cork. Can be made from plant-based or petrochemical-based plastic.

How our natural wine corks are made.

Working with only the best growers of cork trees in Portugal, our cork is harvested by hand every nine to 10 years. Once a tree reaches 25 years of age it can be stripped of its cork once every 9 to 12 years without causing any damage to the tree. This means a single cork oak can be harvested over 16 times during its life cycle.

Once the cork has been stripped from the tree, the cork is transferred to a raw material centre where processing can begin. Here, experts with years of experience grade the cork by sight to ensure there are no impurities. They then cut them into strips and hand-punch to size. A combination of human and robotic inspection continues the check for visual aesthetics.

With only the best corks passing the test, another grading process ensures the corks are 100% TCA free – TCA is an acronym for the chemical compound 2,4,5-trichloroanisole, which is responsible for the aromas and flavours (often called “corkiness” in wine or “cork taint”. TCA can affect the smell and taste of wine, dulling or muting the flavours of rich and fruity wines.

The corks that pass this test then move onto the printing process. The printing of branded graphics and fire branding can take place, adding the company’s brand onto the outer layer of the cork.

Once the printing is complete, the corks are transferred to a tumbled to remove any dust before a final evaluation and bagging of the corks. The airtight bags preserve the quality of the corks during transport.

If you would like to watch the process head across to our YouTube channel here.

Author Josh Webster