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800 million cells offering a unique selling proposition

The world's finest wines have always used cork stoppers. In the case of champagnes, prestigious wine producers such as Ruinart de Reims and Moët et Chandon, have used them since the 18th century. Currently, producers such as Corticeira Amorim apply their know-how to the development of new and better solutions which allow the use of a premium product to be broadened to fast consumption wines and spirits, creating products geared towards specific segments. For example, the most expensive whisky in the world, the Dalmore Trinitas 64, and the oldest, the Mortlach 70 years old, by Gordon & MacPhail, are sealed with Amorim cork stoppers.

"Cork is a unique material in the world, capable of delivering an absolutely incredible product. Even after 50 or 100 years, a cork stopper enables wine to evolve in an extremely positive manner, creating the ideal atmosphere for its development. Since we have been producing wine for hundreds of years, we don’t want to cease this tradition. Of course we think about the quality of our wines right now, but we also have to think about the quality of our wines 50 or 100 years from now."
Philippe Bascaules, Château Margaux, France

The success of cork lies in a complex structure, which is unique in nature and that technology hasn’t yet been able to replicate. Each natural cork stopper is made up of around 800 million tiny cells of suberin - which make all the difference. When compressed, they constantly try to return to their original shape and size, thus adapting to the bottleneck and maintaining a tight seal. Since they are filled with an air-like gas, they allow a tiny amount of oxygen to permeate the bottle after it has been sealed.

This characteristic is vital, because oxygen is one of the most important factors in the development of the bottled wine. In addition, cork protects the wine against temperature variations and prevents it from deteriorating over time. The discovery of a collection of 168 champagne bottles in perfect condition, shipwrecked around two hundred years ago in the Baltic Sea, bears witness to the cork stopper's unique ability to preserve wines and champagnes all over the world.

The majority prefers cork

Cork is the first choice of the world’s finest wineries. The overwhelming preference for cork is very clear in the list of the world’s 100 best wines, published by the prestigious magazine, Wine Spectator, in 2016: 89% are sealed with a cork stopper. 70% of the wine industry prefers cork, and in the case of consumers, this preference is even higher - 91%. Surveys conducted in several countries confirm that cork stoppers are the world's preferred stopper. The US, France, Italy and Spain are some of the markets with the highest preference for cork, but similar results are also found in emerging markets such as China and Russia.

Consumers associate cork with high-quality or very high-quality wines and this perspective is reflected in the success of brands using cork stoppers. In the United States, 97% of consumers associate cork with good wines or wines of exceptional quality. The added value delivered by using cork stoppers is widely recognised. According to Nielsen, US consumers are willing to pay an extra $3.87 for a cork-sealed wine. In China, where 96% of the top-selling wines are sealed with cork stoppers, according to a Nielsen study, 97% of consumers consider cork stoppers to be beneficial to wine quality. According to a CGA study, between 2010 and 2017 there was a 43% increase in the sales of cork-sealed wines in the United States. In the UK, between 2015 and 2017, the increase in the on-trade market was 48%.

Cork and wine quality are so inextricably linked that consumers associate cork with a more positive experience. A scientific study conducted by Oxford University confirms this intuition. The participants ranked the same wine as having a better quality (+ 15%) after hearing the sound of a cork being removed when opening a bottle, compared to a wine sealed with an aluminium screwcap.

In addition to the beneficial interaction of cork with wine, nature and the environmental benefits associated with the cork stopper are distinctive characteristics for choosing this natural closure. Cork stoppers are the only closure with a positive impact, they contribute to capturing CO2 in the atmosphere and make possible a primary economic activity. Wine cellars which use cork stoppers may reduce their CO2 emissions from their bottles by between 18% and 40%, which means that they shall be improving their environmental performance and contributing to preserving a unique ecosystem in the world, the cork forest.

Cork stoppers area is the most important Business Unit of Corticeira Amorim. It develops and produces a diversified portfolio of natural cork stoppers, guaranteeing an unrivalled position in the supply of the ideal stopper for any type of wine or stoppers. Find more.