The Wine Cork

Desi Vega's Seafood Wine CorkA wine cork is a stopper used to seal wine bottles. They are typically made from cork, but screw caps and even glass stoppers are also used.

The Tree

The process of producing a wine cork can take quite a lot of time. Cork is formed from the bark of a Cork Oak Tree which is predominately found in Mediterranean countries.  A Cork Oak Tree reaches maturity at 25 years of growing and has a lifespan of 150 to 250 years. When the tree has reached maturity, trained cork harvesters will strip the bark using an axe by hand. This process does not harm the tree. Trees will be harvested every 9 to 12 years. About 340,000 tons of cork is harvested each year, but only 15 percent is used to make wine corks.

Preparing the Bark

The bark is left outside for a few months to cure. Then, the planks of cork are taken to a processing facility to be cleaned. They are boiled first, which not only helps to clean the bark, but also helps to soften and flatten them. The planks are boiled in a water that contains a fungicide to ensure that the cork is free from mold and bad fungus. After the usable planks are separated, they are stacked in a humidity-controlled space for several weeks.

Cutting the Corks

Each plank is graded based on quality, and then it is cut into smaller strips. The best cork is sent to be hand punched for wine bottles, while the rest will be made into technical corks. Technical corks may be too thin or have gaps. In order to still use this cork, it is ground up and fused together to form a technical cork for wine that is less expensive.

The remaining top quality corks are then sorted by a machine and then by a human eye to make sure that the corks are organized by the correct grading. The top grade cork will be the most expensive, and only the best will used to cork the top quality bottles of wine.

The Wine & After

Did you know that each year about 13 billion wine corks are produced? After the wine has been enjoyed, the cork can still savored. Some people collect them and others use it for art projects. Cork can also be recycled to be used in cork-boards or even cork flooring.  What have you used your old wine corks for?

Desi Vega’s Seafood & Prime Steaks Half Off Bottles

Did you know that we offer Half Off Bottles of Wine on Tuesdays and Wednesdays? If you haven’t started your cork collection, this Tuesday or Wednesday may be a great time start. We also offer a great Happy Hour with specialty cocktails and bar bite every Tuesday through Friday from 3PM until 6PM.