Just about every tree has an outer layer of cork bark, but the cork oak (Quercus suber) is the primary source of most cork products in the world, including wine bottle stoppers. These trees primarily grow in countries that run along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, where there’s plenty of sunshine, low rainfall and high humidity. The countries that produce the most cork include Portugal, Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia.
Just about every tree has an outer layer of cork bark, but the cork oak (Quercus suber) is the primary source of most cork products in the world, including wine bottle stoppers. Cork is actually made of water-resistant cells that separate the outer bark from the delicate interior bark. It has a unique set of properties not found in any other naturally existing material. It is lightweight, rot resistant, fire resistant, termite resistant, impermeable to gas and liquid, soft and buoyant. They simply strip the bark, wash the cork, then punch bottle stoppers.
Cork has been used as bottle stoppers for more than 400 years. It is possibly the best suited material to use as a bottle stopper because it contains a natural waxy substance, called suberin. This substance makes cork impermeable to liquids and gas, and prevents the cork from rotting.
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