Cork... Naturally!

The inherent qualities of natural cork make it the most familiar and popular choice of closure for today’s winemakers. Recent studies suggest that 91 percent of the world’s top wines selected by Wine Spectator in 2021 are sealed with cork closures and that natural cork sealed wines are continuing to rise in price compared to those closed with a screwcap.

Consumers often associate cork with quality, and wine purists continue to feel that removing the cork is still an essential part of the “opening experience” as nothing replaces the expectation
created by that “pop” sound of a cork being pulled. 

Natural Cork properties.

Natural cork is 80-90% air in composition.  It is waterproof and elastic therefore the cork isolates wine from the external agents.  Cork naturally lets wine live and mature in the bottle over extended time through gas exchange.  Oxygen ingress is a key factor in the aging of wines, and natural corks contain O2 in their lenticils which is released into the wine, especially in the first 6 months after bottling. Higher grade corks have less obvious natural porosity and less inherent (more controlled) O2 transfer.  The length of the cork also affects O2 transfer, thus longer corks release O2 more homogeneously.

Cork and the
Environment

Bio-diverse cork forests act as habitat to numerous animals and help with soil conservation all while acting as a Carbon sink for millions of tons of CO2.  A retention capacity up to 309 grams of CO2 is associated with every natural cork stopper and as much as 562 grams with a sparkling wine stopper [2]. Cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down, as cork is harvested at 9-12 year intervals and in such a manner to leave the cork tree intact and able to re-grow its bark for future harvest.  This industry is a great example of renewable production.  Every part of the cork can be used.  Materials left over after punched corks are created are used to create agglomerated cork products.  With the advent of newer recycling programs, used wine corks are also being re-purposed into a growing list of new products like flooring and wall boards.

Waterloo Container customers contributed to the sequestration of up to 618 tonnes of CO2 in 2021 through purchase and use of natural cork in 2021!

Waterloo Container is your source for natural cork!

Waterloo Container partners with the best vendors in the industry to bring you a premier selection of natural cork options. Our primary cork vendors are members of the Cork Quality Council and work with us to ensure your cork is right for your product and can provide further assistance with proper sizing to ensure the perfect combination of form and function.

MA Silva USA was established in 2000 and has established itself as a leading industry supplier through proven delivery of a wide range of natural cork stoppers.  As an innovative, sustainably drivenmanufacturer of cork, M.A. Silva’s business is rooted in putting customers first. 

Amorim Cork is the largest producer and supplier of cork stoppers worldwide, with over 150 years of history. State-of-the-art production technologies, leading expertise, and unparalleled quality control are some of the reasons why the world’s top wine producers rely on Amorim Cork.

Modern technology has practically eliminated TCA in natural cork, and these contemporary cork
manufacturers utilize breakthrough technologies to defeat TCA and other volatile compounds in their cork products.  For example, M.A. Silva innovations include the Sara Advanced® and NeoTech® processes to sterilize and improve the quality of cork.

Our vendors continually invest in research are also members of the Cork Quality Council, working to promote education and improve quality assurance procedures for the wine and cork industries.  This council is a great resource for winemakers and also works to ensure the highest performance available for wine closures.

Natural Cork stoppers at Waterloo Container

Natural corks are often graded based on their appearance.  A grade 1 cork will have the
least visible pores, while a grade 10 will be quite porous and irregular.  You will pay a premium for corks with minimal holes and striation.

Technical corks (1+1 or disc) are typically used for wines that will be consumed within 2-3 years and are composed of punched cork discs adhered to a densely agglomerated cork body.

Agglomerated corks agglomerated corks are made by gluing small granules of cork together in a mould to produce a very highly consistent stopper using sophisticated moulding machinery.

Sparkling (Champagne) corks are larger diameter technical closures which must withstand higher pressures while maintaining specified insertion and extraction forces.  They must have strength to
remain intact during twisting extraction while being pliable enough to offer a lasting seal.

Bar Tops are an option which combine the functionality of natural cork with the addition of a topper piece designed to aid with hand extraction.

In all of our natural cork selections, we also offer a full range of sizes, colors and specifications of natural cork products which we can ship direct to you to ensure freshness!

Cork Customization 

Natural corks can be decorated using laser printers and burning techniques to add custom text and graphics.  State of the art laser technology can bring everything from basic brand graphics to complex photographic illustrations to fruition.  Numerical sequencing and authentication marks can be added to protect your product and enhance traceability.

Want more information on natural corks?

The Cork Quality Council a great resource for anyone considering their closure options and offers technical advice for winemakers looking for information on proper usage of corks. Check out the Bottling handbook and learn more at https://www.corkqc.com/

ReCORK is North America’s largest natural wine cork recycling program, collecting cork stoppers in the USA and Canada with the goal of recycling cork stoppers and educating the public about the critical role of cork oak forests in the fight against climate change and protection of the ecosystem. Learn More https://recork.com/

 

 

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