The extraordinary qualities of structure, malleability, and flexibility of the cork make the cork the real lung of the wine, which is no longer suffocated in its cell. The choice of the cap’s right material, especially for the high-quality wines is a priority.
The different varieties of caps of today's production.
Ever since the primitive system of cords and parchment was abandoned to cork wine bottles - and centuries have passed - there has been a marriage between wine and cork. However, while wine is produced in many parts of the world, the cork plant is found only in the central-western basin of the Mediterranean.
The best known is certainly the cork stopper extracted from Quercus Suber, a plant that grows mainly in some limited regions of Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Algeria.
This means that the production of cork finds it difficult to cope with the growing needs of the market. We are witnessing an ever-increasing demand for corks of the best quality to bottle wine, especially from countries with a more recent wine vocation, such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and of course it must be borne in mind that cork does not only make corks, even if this is one of the most important voices. Cork is extraordinarily malleable and flexible: it is an aggregate of cells, tens of millions every cubic centimeter, that takes place through a minimum waste of solid matter, using the maximum volume of air. The woody structure guarantees the necessary rigidity: while easily and correctly breathing the wine can mature and age in its nest, without feeling oppressed and suffocated.
The choice of the cork to protect wine is very important, especially for high-quality wines. To understand in broad terms, the complex problem of wine bottle capping, here's a review of today's cork production, which is well-differentiated from that of even just a few years ago. 1 - One-piece cork stoppers. These are obtained from the seasoned pieces of cork by shredding, in the various dimensions required. These caps, which are the most widely used, are now classified into 7 different classes, from the extra superior to the sixth. However, a reduction to only three classes is expected: good, average, current, and this is because there is currently, as mentioned above, such a demand for the 3 upper classes, to make their reunification logical. 2- Corks in several pieces. Coupled, they have been produced for several decades using very thin corks grown in dry soils, coupled in two, three, or more pieces, with binders based on casein or synthetic resins. For the high production costs and for their correspondence to the characteristics for prolonged bottling of the wine, they are to be considered a bit the elite of this production. 3- Compound corks. These are produced with high-precision techniques: the cork is first broken down and crushed with special equipment that removes any impurities, reduced into clean and homogeneous granules, then recomposed with binders permitted by current international health standards. They are corks that solve certain wine bottling difficulties, presenting a remarkable homogeneity in the density of the cork. 4- Agglomerated cork stoppers. These are the cheapest, but also the most insecure ones. They are produced with ground cork and then agglomerated using synthetic glues which require, among other things, a hygienic-protective separation from the wine. A product with an attractive price, but useful only for ready-to-drink wines.
Source: Il Vino in Casa, Editoriale Domus
1. One-piece cork stopper
2. Cork stopper in several coupled pieces
3. Compound cork stopper
4. Agglomerated cork stopper
The cork's production Mediterranean areas