Creative potential that exists beyond time

Cork has been used since time immemorial. Indeed, there were various civilisations who several millennia BC discovered the potential of this raw material from the cork oak tree (Quercus Suber L.) and used it in a wide array of everyday objects. This is confirmed by countless remnants that have been found in several Mediterranean countries.

"For a material that has been used since antiquity, the Chameleon­like versatility of cork is astonishing (...) thanks to its capacity for renewal and for adapting to new technological demands.”

The Chemistry of Cork, National Geographic

Ancient Egyptians used cork as a utensil for sailing, in the art of fishing and in domestic applications. Ahead of their time, the Ancient Egyptians also chose this material for the soles of their sandals, never imagining that this would later become a trend in the fashion shows of the 21st century’s most prestigious fashion houses. Roman Civilisation continued to explore the virtues of cork in footwear, such as insoles, and also broadened its horizons: it was used as a closure for amphorae to transport liquids and in homes, to cover roofs and ceilings. Cork's thermal capacities were already understood at the time. This would later be confirmed by medieval monks, who used it to cover the walls of their rooms, for protection against the cold in the winter and from the heat in the summer. In the Age of the Discoveries, this raw material was used in the Portuguese caravel ships which set sail to discover new worlds. In the recent past it was also used in military equipment in World War II.

Despite its multitude of uses, cork has always been very closely connected to wine. Although there are records of amphorae sealed with cork in the 3rd century B.C. which contained wine in good condition, the major revolution in the wine industry occurred in the 17th century, with Dom Perignon. This is notwithstanding other historic currents that show that cork stoppers were used in glass bottles in England in the early 1600s. However, the French monk, who became famous for his champagne, sought an alternative to the stoppers that were used at the time - which were wrapped in hemp and soaked in olive oil - that failed to provide an effective seal, played a dubious role in the preservation of wine and were always popping out. Cork was the answer. This choice fostered the growth of the wine and cork industries which have evolved together over the centuries.

Nowadays, the cork stopper protects the world’s finest wines, sparkling wines and spirits.

The potential of cork continues to be recognised and, in a world where innovation and ecology now go hand in hand, this material is attracting the interest of an increasing number of sectors.

Thus, one of the most ancient products in permanent use by Humanity, continues to give life to new products and applications. This includes diverse areas such as construction, sports, fashion, design, health, energy production or the aerospace industry.

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