Growth In Demand For Cork Sends Amorim Back To The Forests

With the current global demand for cork stoppers surpassing 12bn units annually and the wine market’s upward growing curve, the world’s leading cork-company Amorim is going back to basics to ensure sufficient supply of quality product for the years ahead. And by going back to basics we are talking about the source of cork, namely the quercus suber, also known as the cork oak tree. Speaking to the popular Grandes Escolhas Magazine, Antonio Amorim, president of Amorim Cork told of the company’s plans to ensure unhindered supply of product from a new generation of cork forests.

“At the moment, the situation between the supply of natural product from cork forests and our customers’ demand is balanced,” he said. “Portugal has 34% of the area, but 50% of the production of raw material. The production of cork is thus not scarce, but adjusted to the level of actual demand. We cannot forget that in the decade of 2000 to 2009 cork lost an important share in the world of wine to artificial closures. If the cork market had during that time continued to grow at the same pace as today, there would now indeed be a mismatch between supply and demand.”

According to Amorim, the question of sufficient supply arises not in the short term, but in the long run. “Cork is showing huge growth potential plus – being Amorim – we are ambitious about furthering this growth. Because the origin of the supply chain is in the forest, it takes decades to get a tree up and running, supplying class bark for quality stoppers. If we do not start now to plan this part of the supply chain, we are definitely going to find an imbalance between supply and demand in the decades ahead.”

The anomaly is that there has never been such a large area occupied by cork oaks in Portugal and – at the same time – cork production has never been so small. “The problem is not in the occupied area, but in the existing density,” says Amorim. “There has been some rejuvenation and we will soon enter a period where we can benefit from the plantations developed in 1995 and 2000, cork trees only starting their production cycle after 25 years.”

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