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Already in the early Ancient wines knew the Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks and the cork, which they partly as a closure for their Amphora employed. In most cases, however, were plugs made of terracotta (clay) are common, which they fastened with twine and then abdichteten with paint, clay or pitch. The Roman author Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) writes that the pitchers have to be closed after fermentation with cork and pitch. The Romans knew so early as the 2nd Century BC, this closure, but they came with the fall of the Roman empire into oblivion. This was probably primarily because, as the Iberian Peninsula as the main source of cork in the 8th Century was conquered by the Moors. Until the late Middle Ages, vessels were sealed with wooden plugs, pitch or wax. With the development of glass bottles were first used glass stopper, but in the beginning of the 17th Century, the cork being rediscovered. Even the monk Dom PÃ©rignon (1638-1715) has experimented. The corks were due to various bottleneck sizes initially a conical shape, and were sunk and half for easier removal. Only through the development of useful They were cylindrical in shape and have now been driven fully into the bottleneck. As the dominant closure for Bottles has the cork from the middle of the 17th Century prevailed and led to a boom in the cork industry.
Today, the cork out of the thick outer bark of the cork oak "Quercus suber" is produced. More than half of world production comes from Portugal, other important export countries are Spain, Algeria, Italy and Morocco. The trees are eight to ten feet tall and about 200 years can be used. They can be peeled before age 25 for the first time for an industrial use; for bottle cork is the bark suitable until 45 years ago. Other times this is done at intervals of 9 to 12 years, about 15 times on average, can be stripped of a tree. The bark is deposited at least a year, then boiled in water, molded, cut into sheets and sorted according to quality. This strip can be cut, resulting in the punching out cylindrical plugs. They are produced in a length of 25 to 60 millimeters in length, longer corks usually mean a higher quality wine. The blanks are smoothed at the end faces and cylindrically ground. Thereafter carried the bleaching and the impregnation with a waxy substance to make the cork lubricious. Last is the Korkbrand Today this is mostly a print. When the packaging of the cork often Sulfur dioxide added to.
A natural cork is an almost perfect and also from an aesthetic point of view, optimal closure for wine bottles. It is easy to clean, relatively insensitive to different temperatures, is rarely attacked by rot, is impervious to air quality in healthy, highly elastic and has a long life of typically 10 to 20, in exceptional cases 50 to maybe even 100 years ago. The cork cells are impermeable by incorporation of suberin (wachshÃ¤ltiger pulp) for gases and water. In each bark (bark), however points with so-called Lenticels (For gas and water exchange). The quality of the cork as few of them are beneficial. A normal wine bottle corks has a diameter of 24 millimeters and is compressed onto the bottle neck diameter of 18 millimeters. He does, however, even after years of storage of the wine bottle after pulling in just 24 hours to return to its original size. The Humidity must be high enough so that the cork does not release any moisture to the environment (ideally 75% at 10 Â° C).
Like all organic materials, but a cork loses its suppleness increases with age. Therefore it is advisable to drink a bottle in a timely manner with a defective cork or cork again. A few wineries offer their customers a special service Neuverkorkung for very old bottles of their best products. Under extreme temperature fluctuations, the corks are leaking, which is prevented by constant temperature. A press corks (agglomerate and agglomerate corks = stoppers or composite aggregation) is not cut out one piece of the cork oak tree, but it is cork, which was bound with resin or glue. These are much cheaper than natural cork. As a rule, be applied to both sides (not just one like the champagne corks), a piece of two to three millimeters in length normal cork, so the wine does not come in contact with the glue. They are mostly used by young wines to be enjoyed in. A champagne cork is glued in three layers to be compressed diameter of 31 millimeters to 17.5 millimeters, which is quite typical of the mushroom-shaped upper portion is obtained.
An often-voiced question, whether the wine through the cork during storage "breathes" is. If this is the case at all, which is rejected by most experts in an error-free corks explicitly, then at most minimal extent. Had this been a larger scale, it would of Wine Oxidation and thus become unsuitable. The second most frequently asked question in this context is whether a wine in the bottles in oxygen is needed to answer in the negative and ranges from the small amount in the bottle neck. In the last few years to come because of the enormous demand in increasingly poorer quality cork (large pores) on the market. Either they are leaking or is it due to the porosity and oxidation in extreme cases, leakage of the wine. By unclean and the cork Corked . arise The closures would be so perfect in fact that alternatives such as the Screw cap . Quite a few mock and complain about it but a loss of culture, but this is likely to develop environmental and economic reasons can not be stopped. Moreover, the argument is often used for the pro-"pop" as a sensual pleasure is not valid, because a bottle should be opened noiselessly professionally. Currently just under 60% of the world's wine bottles are sealed by means of natural cork. See also Korkmotte , Closures and Wine consumption .