amorim the world's largest producer of cork products: cork stoppers
 
amorim the world's largest producer of cork products: cork stoppers amorim the world's largest producer of cork products: cork stoppers
nov 26, 2015

amorim the world's largest producer of cork products: cork stoppers

amorim the world’s largest producer of cork products: cork stoppers
image © amorim

 

 

 

after living a century full of synthetic materials, our ideas on them are shifting as the concerns on the future of our planet increase. research, development and innovation have guided us to more sustainable and wasteless processes that comprehend the advantages of harvesting natural materials. a good example of this is the cork oak, a tree native to the western mediterranean basin where it finds its ideal growing conditions. wine drinkers may be familiar with it thanks to the stoppers, but other uses of this material include flooring, insulation for constructions, applications for transportation objects, agglomerates and composites, and oil absorbents and solvents.

amorim cork
the cork oak is native to the western mediterranean basin where it finds its ideal growing conditions
image © amorim

 

 

 

cork is taken from the outer bark of the oaks, from a cortex that can be harvested for the first time after the oak reaches 25 years of age and then every nine years, the time it takes to regenerate. this means that it can be stripped 15-19 times throughout its 200-year life span. the first harvest obtained (25 years) is an irregular and hard material, ideal for flooring. the second one (34 years) provides a more regular structure, softer than the previous one, perfect for agglomerates used in constructions. from age 43 and onwards the stripped parts finally have the ideal conditions for cork stoppers.

amorim cork
around 100.000 people in portugal depend on the production and manufacture of natural cork
image © amorim

 

 

 

designboom went to portugal to visit amorim, the world’s largest producer of cork solutions, to learn more about this material, how it’s harvested, processed and applied to our daily lives. natural, flexible, and sustainable, cork is a vegetable tissue with enviable properties that include acoustic insulation, impermeability to liquid and gases, fire retardant, high resistance to abrasion, and hypoallergenic. it is 100% recyclable and reusable therefore environmentally friendly and capable to pull through the demands of a society in need of sustainability.

amorim cork
the number four on the tree means that the last strip was made in 2014
image © designboom

 

 

 

the cork oak is part of a special ecosystem that is not only capable of preventing soil degradation, but is also a generator of high levels of biodiversity: it hosts more than 160 species of birds, 37 species of mammals, and 24 of reptiles and amphibians. the sustainable forestry practice of cork stimulates the regulation of water cycles and improves the organic matter of soils. its exemplary development promotes a cyclical harvest that doesn’t damage the trees, making the forest a viable renewable source.

amorim cork
corticeira amorim: once stripped, the cork planks rest for six months in the factory’s yard
image © amorim

 

 

 

after being stripped, the cork planks rest for six months in the factory’s yard, a period in which they stabilize. the preparation starts with a boiling operation that removes organic objects embedded in the pores and enables the cork to reach the ideal moisture content for processing. the boards are then sorted into various thicknesses, which are, in turn, sorted into different qualities, segmenting them depending on their suitability for different applications.

amorim cork
a boiling operation removes organic objects embedded in the pores and enables cork to reach its ideal moisture
image © amorim

 

 

 

cork stoppers are the only closure able to respect the evolution of wine and the development of its richness after bottling. they are also the only ones capable of combining tradition, sustainability, and high technical expertise, while preserving the drink. amorim has been making cork stoppers since 1870, and today has its own worldwide distribution network that markets a vast portfolio with the ideal solutions for every wine segment. depending on the wine, four different types of stoppers are available:

  • natural cork stopper: made of 100% natural material that is enhanced by cutting edge technology, it guarantees that the wine will mature in the best conditions, thanks to its sealing capabilities. it is the preferred choice of the best winemakers of the world.

  • champagne cork stopper: comprises a main body of agglomerated cork with two disks of ‘natural cork’ at either end that remain in contact with the wine. it is intended for wines that combine extreme pressure with a subtle delicacy.

 

  • twin top: a technical cork stopper that consists of a natural cork disc on both ends of a body of agglomerated cork. it is ideal for fruity wines and not intended for long bottle aging.

 

  • neutro cork: offers great structural stability resulting from its composition of micro cork granulates of uniform size. it is recommended for wines with a certain complexity that are intended to be consumed quickly.

 

  • helix concept: helix is the perfect partnership between a glass bottle with an internal thread finish and an ergonomically-designed cork. it offers the quality image, excellent taste preservation and environmental benefits associated with both glass and cork in an innovative, highly convenient solution.

amorim cork
corticeira amorim: the cork is sorted into various thicknesses, segmenting them depending on their suitability for different applications
image © designboom

 

 

 

corticeira amorim leads an ambitious project to discover new and unexpected applications for cork by creating partnerships with renowned centers of knowledge and industry leaders. it makes investments in innovation and design, developing high added value products and solutions that anticipate the market trends and generates jobs. its path showcases its respect for cork, a green material almost impossible to surpass.

 

designboom visited the amorim factory to understand how cork stoppers are produced 
video © designboom

amorim cork
the cork stoppers are manually pulled out from the planks
image © designboom

amorim cork
cork is the only bottle closure that is able to respect the evolution of wine and the development of its richness
image © designboom

amorim cork
the resting material is later on used for agglomerates or for powering the factory
image © designboom

amorim cork
natural cork stoppers guarantee that the wine will mature in the best conditions, thanks to its sealing capabilities
image © designboom

 

 

  • I am always amazed at automation, some things just look slower for automation -but too boring to do by hand without losing your sanity I suppose, and then having lined up the item so neatly, it just gets spat randomly in a bin ..
    Great little movie, most educational.

    mackenzie collins says:

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