When divers salvaged 162 bottles of champagne from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea in 2010, taking a sip when they reached the surface, they were surprised to discover how well the bubbly had aged after almost two centuries under water.
With the labels long washed off, researchers had to rely on engravings on the cork stoppers to trace the origin of the 170-year-old loot to champagne houses in France. It was natural they’d call on Corticeira Amorim SGPS SA, the world’s biggest producer of wine corks, to replace the closures.
For Antonio Amorim, Corticeira Amorim’s chief executive officer, the fact that 79 of the bottles were still drinkable is further evidence of the virtues of cork in preserving the world’s finest champagnes and wines. One of the bottles — a Veuve Clicquot — later sold for a record 30,000 euros ($31,800) at auction.
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