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Myths and Facts

Get to know some myths and curiosities about cork, the oak tree, the oak forest and cork stoppers. See also some interesting facts.

Search below by topic the myths and curiosities we have prepared.

Yes. According to the Life Cycle Analysis conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in compliance with environmental management standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, each natural cork stopper is responsible for the capture of 112 g of CO2. 12 billion cork stoppers of all types are produced annually, which represents a total of over 150 000 tonnes of CO2 captured per year.

On the contrary, artificial closures - aluminium and plastic - emit 37.2 g and 14.8 g of CO2, respectively. In comparison to cork stoppers, the emissions of plastic closures are ten times higher and of aluminium capsules 24 times higher.

Yes. Cork stoppers are completely recyclable and reusable. Although recycled cork shall never be used in stoppers again, it may be incorporated into other materials used for coverings, insulation, memo boards, high competition kayaks, badminton rackets, tennis and cricket balls, car and aircraft components, design and fashion items and a multitude of other uses.

As a 100% natural product, cork stoppers are biodegradable and do not pollute the atmosphere if they are thrown in the rubbish bin.

Each tonne of cork can provide, on average, 66 700 cork stoppers.

Environmental motivation is one of the most important factors in recycling. Cork stoppers absorb CO2 particles that have been retained by the bark of the cork oak. If they are decomposed or incinerated, they release the CO2 into the atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming. Recycling not only prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, but enables the ability of cork to retain CO2 to be extended. In each tonne of cork stoppers, around 1.07 tonnes of CO2 is retained, in an endless process, since the reuse of this raw material is unlimited.

On the other hand, by recycling used cork stoppers you are also contributing to enabling the reuse of a raw material and the decrease of the costs associated with the production of other high added-value products.

Corticeira Amorim is a pioneer in promoting the recycling of cork stoppers, by developing collection programmes in Portugal, the USA and Canada, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia.

Learn about the cork stopper collection projects in:

Portugal: http://www.greencork.org/

France: http://www.ecobouchon.com/

The USA and Canada: http://recork.org/

Italy: http://amorimcorkitalia.com/campagna-etico

Each cubic centimetre of cork may contain around 40 million cells. There are around 800 million cells in a single cork stopper.

12 billion stoppers are produced annually worldwide.

There is evidence of cork being used by the people of Ancient Egypt and in Roman civilisation. In France, amphorae from the 3rd century BC were found full of wine considered to still be in good condition. The use of cork at pre-industrial level dates back to the end of the 17th century.

Yes. The environmental and economic advantages of cork stoppers are increasingly recognised by organisations, the wine industry and consumers. Surveys conducted in several countries confirm that at a global level, cork stoppers are the preferred choice - not just because of the connection to the protection of the environment, but also as a result of the association of cork with high quality wines.

According to the prestigious Wine Spectator magazine, 89% of the world's best wines are sealed with cork. In China and the United States, 97% of consumers associate cork with wine quality. Throughout the world, in traditional and emerging markets, consumer satisfaction with cork stoppers exceeds 80%.

Indirectly, yes. According to the researcher Luís Gil, from the National Institute of Engineering, Technology and Innovation, cork behaves in a similar way to oak, in which many wines are aged: «Besides allowing the wine to age and "breathe", cork stoppers confer certain organoleptic (taste and aroma) qualities to the wine.»

If we compare the production of a plastic closure with cork stoppers, CO2 emissions are 10 times higher than the cork stopper and this emission increases to 24 times higher when it comes to aluminium stoppers.

No. The first stripping of the cork oak takes place when it reaches 25 years of age, but it is only from the third stripping, at around 40 years of age, that the cork reaches the standard of quality required to produce stoppers.

Yes, all beverages can be sealed with a cork stopper. For example, the world's most expensive beer is bottled with a cork stopper and the best whiskies in the world too.

In 1678, the Benedictine monk Pierre Pérignon was the first person to use cork stoppers as a sealant for his sparkling wine produced in the Abbey of Hautvilliers in the Champagne region.

No. Only 30% of the cork extracted from Montado has the quality levels required to produce natural corks.

According to a recent scientific study conducted by the University of Oxford, consumers associate cork with a positive experience and better wine quality. The experience tested the same wine, served in a bottle sealed with cork and another sealed with an artificial seal, wherein the former was classified as 15% better.

Thanks to its large-scale research investments, Corticeira Amorim has developed quality control and analysis methods that deliver cork stoppers with unique guarantees in the market. NDtech is a sophisticated screening technology that monitors each cork individually, eliminating the risk of "contamination" with TCA, a chemical compound responsible for cork taint in wines. This state-of-the-art technology can detect TCA levels above the threshold of 0.5 grams per litre, equivalent to finding a drop of water in 800 Olympic swimming pools.