Wine guides

Cork stoppers: the precious closures

Tappi-di-sughero
Written by EFW Staff

Cork stoppers

Cork stoppers are more expensive than other types of plastic closures; people usually try to limit the bottling costs in favour of more competitive prices, loosing sight of the most important details: the value of the cork stopper.

The main role of the stopper is to perfectly close the bottle, in order to keep intact the liquid and its quality. Worth mentioning is also the permeability of the cork stopper, allowing a long refining of the wine: it is a matter of finding the right balance between oxidation and reduction, to produce an excellent wine with aromatic and precious shades.

Trough the cork stopper, there is a slow interchange between the oxygen in the room and wine, refining directly in the bottle. Obviously the bottles are placed in a safe and monitored environment, possibly a cellar that has the right balance between humidity and temperature, without strong odours in the air.

Cork stoppers and history

The closure with the cork stopper has a long tradition and history. It was born in the XVII century and allowed to preserve and export all over the world precious and expensive wines.
Closures with cork were already known in 1500. The improvement of this technique to preserve wine, takes place around the half of 1600 in England and France, where the pairing glass bottle plus cork stopper allows the preservation and export of precious wines.
Since 1700 also in Piedmont spread this cork closure to preserve royal wines; the cork stoppers were bought in Lion.

The quality of the cork stoppers

High quality cork stoppers, good ones, can cost as the glass bottles; it is possible to find for sale a kind of cork crumbled and pressed with artificial glues, even if it isn’t able to reach the qualitative levels of the whole cork stoppers.
The added glues can even alter the organoleptic qualities of the wine itself.

Why cork stoppers?

Cork is obtained by the external bark of the cork oak. The cork is collected when the tree is 30 years old and it is 3 cm thick.
This kind of bark is different from all the other barks: the cork, in fact is well known for its thermic and acoustic insulation properties. In addition it is fireproof so it is less dangerous than wood.

The other fundamental characteristics that makes cork the most suitable material to realize wine stopper are: flexibility, lightness, it is easy to manage, mould, insects and woodworm doesn’t attack it (unlike wood, for example) and it is biodegradable.
Thus, choose to use cork stoppers means to rely on a natural material, fully hypoallergenic and with precious characteristics that other materials haven’t already reached.

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EFW Staff