Why Cork?

25 Mar

Spring is starting here in Texas. As is planning for a number of Texas wine events. So I thought this was a good time to post this information on cork and the cork coasters from Americanna.


1) Sustainably Harvested Cork

Careful forest management not only provides for the continued extraction of the cork oak but helps to create the conditions for a diverse range of other products that are harvested from the woodlands. A harmonious balance is maintained, where local people can provide for their needs without damaging the ecosystem or threatening the long-term sustainability of their most important natural resource. The cork oak is a slow growing tree that may live for 200 years, which allows it, on average, to be stripped 16 times during its lifetime. The first stripping only takes place after 25 years, when the trunk of the tree has a circumference of 70 cm.

Set of 6 Cork Coasters with Wine Bottle Holder.

Set of 6 Cork Coasters with Wine Bottle Holder.

2) Biodiversity Hotspot

Cork oak trees help to conserve soil by providing protection against wind erosion and increasing the rate at which rainwater infiltrates and recharges groundwater. Cork oak landscapes cover approximately 2.7 million hectares of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France. As well as providing a vital source of income for more than 100,000 people, these landscapes also support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats, including globally endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Iberian Imperial Eagle and the Barbary Deer. The Mediterranean is one of the 25 global ‘hot spots’ characterized by a high level of species diversity. It has 13,000 endemic plant species, the second highest number in the world after the tropical Andes. In cork oak landscapes, plant diversity can reach a level of 135 species per square metre, and may of these species have aromatic, culinary or medicinal uses.

3) Naturally Sequesters Carbon

In comparison to the aluminium and plastic closures, the cork stopper is the best alternative in terms of non-renewable energy consumption, emission of greenhouse effect gases, contribution to atmospheric acidification, contribution to the formation of photochemical oxidants, contribution to the eutrophication of surface water and total production of solid waste. The capture of carbon by the cork oaks during the photosynthesis process results in plant growth and transforms atmospheric CO2 into O2 and, in the case of organic matter, into cellulose. For this reason the forest is considered to be an important carbon sink.

4) Biodegradable and Recyclable

Cork is a truly sustainable product – it is renewable and biodegradable. Cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. The bark renews itself ready for the next harvesting. Unlike its synthetic counterparts, cork is an inherently sustainable resource, both renewable and biodegradable. The cork oak tree (Quercus suber) is unique in that its thick bark can be stripped off every decade to extract the cork without damaging the trees, which can live 170 to 250 years on average.

5) Preserves Local Livelihoods

Without the demand for cork, economic pressures could force farmers to abandon the active management of cork forests, which may lead to rural exodus as well as unbalance the ecosystems that preserve the biodiversity of these regions. The increase in the market share of alternative wine stoppers, specifically plastic stoppers and screw-tops, could reduce the economic value of cork lands, therefore leading to conversion to other uses, abandonment, degradation, and finally loss of one of the best and most valuable examples of a human-nature balanced system. Because the forests have an economic value to local communities, people care for the forests. Cork oak woodlands provide employment and guarantee the survival of local communities. More than 100,000 people in the seven Mediterranean cork-producing countries depend directly and indirectly on cork economies. Cork is a vital source of regional rural employment. Over 15 billion cork stoppers are produced every year and sold worldwide to the wine industry. These stoppers are processed from bark harvested from cork oak woodlands that have existed in the Western Mediterranean for thousands of years. Cork for bottle stoppers accounts for almost 70% of the total value of the cork market. The wine industry thus plays a vital role in maintaining the economic value of cork and the cork oak forests.


Source: 100% Cork – http://100percentcork.org/cork.php/why-cork

If you are an ASI member Michelle Stiles is the contact to talk to at Americanna. If you are interested in their cork products to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email info@proformagreen.com for information and pricing

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