WINE Cork HISTORY
The enterprising ancient Greeks managed not only to learn how to produce good wine, but also to establish a successful trade in them. The difficulties caused by the inconvenience of transporting open amphorae prompted them to create traffic jams. The main requirement was protection from spilling the precious drink (there was no talk about tightness yet), and the wooden cork did an excellent job with this task. Of course, this “plug” was far from perfect: the use of soft wood as the basis caused the cork to quickly swell inside the vessel, and, as a result, damage to the neck of the amphora and wine oxidation. A little later, they improved the technology, and began to lubricate the cork with clay and seal it with resin.
Based on the experience of the discoverers, the Phoenicians and the ancient Romans used the bark of a particular oak tree as a material. They, like no one else, were close to the revolutionary discovery, but the lack of appropriate packaging (glass) delayed the date of mass use until the 17th century. Such corks perfectly preserved the integrity of the drink, ensured tightness and contributed to the “enrichment” of wine during storage. Beginning in 1630, when Kanelm Digmi made the first glass wine bottle, the demand for cork began to grow tirelessly.
WINE Cork FORM.
The first wine bottles differed in size of the neck, so the cork had to be made in the shape of a cone: they were only partially filled into the bottle, so that later wine could be uncorked. The invention of the corkscrew made it possible to create cork-cylinders, and completely “drown” them in the neck. From that moment, the production cork boom began, this option supplanted all others.
Despite the automation of the current production, the manufacturing process itself remains quite lengthy and laborious. If before the cork bark was enough for everyone, then with an increase in the scale of winemaking, the consumption of cork increased, which could threaten the existence of cork oak, so it was decided to cultivate this tree. From the moment of planting to the first use of the bark, at least 15 years pass, and the next layer will increase only after 9-10 years. This is followed by a complex technology: from cutting the bark by hand, ending with drying, disinfection and soaking in hot water. The best are corks from a single piece of wood (for vintage wine), clogging corks, which are powdered with cork dust, are used in the production of wine in the middle price range. Low-quality corks are glued from wastes, which are used for inexpensive wine.