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Amorim enjoys record year as it produces over 4 billion corks in 2013

Published:  16 December, 2013

Amorim, the largest cork producer in the world, has broken its own production record after manufacturing more than four billion mark cork stoppers this calendar year.  The news represents a major boost for cork, which continues its comeback after strong challenges from alternative closures.


Carlos de Jesus, Amorim's director of marketing and communications, told "We are delighted to have reached this major milestone in our history - 3.6 billion being our previous highest - but it is the trust of our 15,000 client wineries around the world that underpins the remarkable success of Amorim cork stoppers."


That trust has been enhanced by the Portuguese company's massive annual investment in research and development - 5 million euros per annum - in their quest significantly to reduce cork's two main enemies, cork taint (TCA) and oxidation. Many Australian wineries complained that TCA and oxidation levels were unacceptably high, but some have switched back to cork from screwcap.


Rusden, the Barossa Valley winery, are one such example. Its winemaker, Christian Canute, explained the rationale behind its decision. "After a five year trial of screwcapit has become clear that cork is best for our wine," he said."Our wines are hand-made, and bottled without fining or filtration. Under screwcap I have noticed the wines 'sweat', producing overly dominant reductive characters. It's a problem we have never had under cork."


Australian wineries have long complained of being fobbed off with poorer quality corks, but Ryan Kinghorn, chief executive of Haselgrove, the McLaren Vale producer, paid tribute to the improvement in cork quality."We are battling France for business.  They undercut us in price, they produce beautiful wines and it is all under cork," he told Harpers."The quality of corks produced today far exceeds what was available in the past. We believe Amorim is the leader in innovation in quality improvement, so we are confident using cork, not only for export markets, but also for our domestic reds."


More good news for cork has come from research, just published, by an Australian Master of Wine, Alison Eisermann-Ctercteko. After checking 10,000 bottles under screwcap in 22 retail outlets in the Sydney area, as well as 1,500 in London, she found that as much as a quarter of the screwcapped wines had suffered damage to the closure. There was significant chemical change in 8.2% of the wines, pointing to a clear correlation between cap damage and premature oxidative ageing.