Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Put A Cork In It

How is the decline of cork bottle closures connected to endangered species? Read on.

ENS Link

The cork oak forests, unique to the Mediterranean area, provide habitat for a number of endangered species, including the black stork. They also provide a sustainable source for traditional closures for the wine industry and steady income for some 100,000 people. But the increasing use of unsustainable synthetic closures (and screw top bottles) have decreased the demand for cork. And that has led to a decline of the cork forests.

In a misguided attempt to address the problem, faster growing but less fire resistant species (eucalyptus) have been planted. (The thick bark of the cork oaks provides excellent fire resistance.)

A plan for certification of cork quality will provide more assurance and consistency for the wine industry and thereby slow the decline of the forests. (Cork closures have a higher failure rate than the newer devices.) This will serve to maintain a unique habitat and preserve the endangered species therein. Furthermore, planting the robust cork oaks amongst the less resistant species will provide for fire breaks.

I would urge all consumers to reject plastic (polymer) and screw top bottles as non-sustainable and inferior substitutes.


Blogger Annie said...

I was in Spain and Portugal years ago, and was amazed at the cork trees. So beautiful, loved by their keepers. I cannot open a bottle of wine without thinking of them, and do not ever, ever buy wine with plaskik corks, or screw tops.
Trees with more than one job. Wonderous!

12:01 AM  
Blogger boran2 said...

Hopefully their decline will be turned around.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Family Man said...

I agree with annie and you. To see the decline of any wonderous thing is always so sad.

Hopefully things will be turned in the right direction this time.

8:15 AM  
Blogger boran2 said...

Thanks, FM.

11:56 PM  

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