THE HISTORY OF CORK
Cork’s history dates back to 60 million years ago, but cork only really started to have an impact in the 17th century, when Dom Pierre Perignon discovered that cork was an ideal solution for sealing its wines. This was the reason for the start of the cork industrialization and slowly cork gained popularity. Today, cork is used in so many industries that people lose count.
WHERE ARE THE CORK TREES
The cork trees (or “Querqus Suber” cork oaks) grow through southwestern Europe and to northwestern Africa in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Of all these countries, Portugal has the largest collection of cork oaks. In addition, Portugal is the world leader in cork production. These regions meet the following criteria, which are necessary for good cork production:
● Sandy soils with a low nitrogen and phosphorus content
● Precipitation between 400 and 800 mm per year
● The temperature that can very much rise from 5 to 40 degrees Celsius
● Altitude from 100 to 300 meters
THE HARVEST TIME
The first time the cork oak is harvested is when it is 25 years old and its trunk circumference is 70 cm, measured at 1.3 meters from the ground. The follow-up stripping / harvesting of the cork takes place every 9 years between May and August months. The cork oak can be gutted 15 to 18 times throughout its life at 9-year intervals.
Because the cork grows back over time, the cork oak is an invaluable renewable natural resource. It is probably one of the most extraordinary trees known in the world for its number of qualities. Cork trees prevent soil degradation and make the soil more productive. In addition, it regulates the water cycle, combats desertification, and improves biodiversity.
Summarizing the value of cork oak is almost impossible. Our responsibility is to ensure that we maintain the cork oak well, so that we can continue to reap the benefits for a long time to come. So let’s protect and cherish the nature around us – in the end, it’s all we have.