The average wine consumer probably doesn’t put a lot of thought into the origins of their wine bottle stopper — chances are they’re only thinking about the cork for the few seconds it takes to remove and dispose of it.
Maybe much to your surprise, wine corks are saving forests and the birds. Yes, as it turns out wine corks were not brought here by a cork stork, they in fact were harvested from the bark of a tree called the Cork Oak, found in the western Mediterranean. The bark, which is treated, dried and cut into the shape you see it as, spends a lot of time maturing before it’s ready to be stripped for processing. Because of this long process, the trees are given exceptional care for decades. The lush Cork Oak forests become paradise to a variety of birds who have come to rely on the healthy tress for a home. The survival of these birds depends on the trees, which might soon become endangered by the increasing popularity of plastic corks.
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