Kitchen. Why are the traffic jams in Liège?

The use of cork dates back to antiquity where it was used to seal amphorae. With the use of wooden barrels, he experienced a long crossing of the desert. He returns with the advent of glass. In France, it was in the 17th century that the monk Dom Pierre Pérignon decided to use it with a conical shape to cover champagne bottles. The industrialization of glass bottles is definitely installing it in the wine landscape. But, competing today with the screw capsule, the cork has solid advantages.

Potential for aging

If you keep your bottle for less than two years, screw caps or cork will not change anything. On the other hand, lovers of old vintages, or eager to see the potential of a vintage wine, will select the traditional corks. Why? Thanks to its alveoli, the presence of polyphenols in the bark of the oak, the cork gradually leaves very small amounts of air. This phenomenon allows the development of wine aromas over time.

Quality techniques

If the Greeks and Romans had adopted it for its elasticity, the cork is also waterproof. To this impermeability is added fire resistance. Also know that cork does not attract rodents or insects.


The natural cork is also closer to nature and the vines. One third of the oak forests (quercus suber) cover 736,000 ha in Portugal. Harvesting takes place from May to July, when the tree begins to sweat, making it easier for the bark to come off. Once the striptease is complete, on the central part only, the tree will take at least nine years to reconstitute an exploitable layer of cork. Only 30% of the crop will end up in corks, the rest in by-products or insulation.

The taste of cork

Nightmare of the winemaker, haunted by the collector of grands crus, the taste of cork is sometimes invited to the table. To avoid grimacing soup, corkscrews put double bites to fight trichloroanisole. More commonly known as TCA, this molecule makes the wine unsuitable for good taste. The Portuguese group Amorim, the world leader in the industry, has developed the first guaranteed natural cork with no releasable TCA.

The alternatives to the cap

In Austria and Germany, even on wines for more than € 50 a bottle, the screw capsule captures 80% of the market. In Switzerland, it boasts 60% of the market. Three good reasons to explain this craze: no taste in cork; easy to open and the ability to store bottles standing. On the other hand, it is impossible to imagine a custody beyond two years.

Made from organic sugarcane derivatives, plant corks balance care, performance (while avoiding ADD) and sustainable development.

More recent, elegant and aesthetic, the glass cap is gaining ground. But its high manufacturing cost is for high-end wines.

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