Put a cork in it

All you need to know about cork harvesting. 

Cork is the most environmentally friendly way to seal wine. Unlike screwcaps, corks are biodegradable. Plus, the material used to make them is 100 per cent renewable.

The reason? Cork oak is hand-harvested from trees, which are never felled.  The harvest in Portugal happens every nine years in a region known The Alentejo, and has ever since the 18th century.  Not much has changed in this time. The tradition of cork harvesting still gets passed down from father to son.

The Alentejo is responsible for more than half of the world’s total cork supply. It’s an enchanting place. Some of the trees are well over 100-years-old. Cork is the only tree bark that doesn’t contain lengthwise fibres, which is why the cork can be harvested this way.

Writes Lucy Siegle for The Guardian:

“Deep into one of the 350 remaining cork oak forests sometime between June and August you’ll suddenly come across a team of about 20 men, ranging in ages from 16 to 70, striking huge twisted trees with axes. Then, with a sensitivity you would not associate with an axe, they prise the juicy bark from the tree and it is levered from the trunk in great, satisfying pieces. From the base, right up to the beginning of the branches, it is peeled away to reveal the oak’s red, nude surface underneath.”

But it’s not just that cork preserves biodiversity. According to HELIX the practice also helps to combat social and environmental desertification by providing the world’s highest paid agricultural work and regulating crucial water cycles.

The Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2015 is the first wine in the Southern Hemisphere to be bottled under the innovate HELIX cork from Amorim, world leaders in wine packaging concepts. ‘The new ‘twist to open’ concept combines a stopper made from cork and a glass bottle with an internal thread finish in the neck, creating a high performing and sophisticated wine packaging solution.’

And… HELIX and Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2015 have teamed up once again, but this time for a competition of a lifetime.

See the cork harvest for yourself and win an all expenses paid six-day trip to Portugal. The trip will include a visit to the magnificent cork forests in the country’s south with an introduction to the behind-the-scenes aspects of cork production.



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