Cork’s Comeback! Sustainability and Eliminating TCA Yay! With Amorim Cork, Ep. 82

Corks at Amorim Cork’s Mozelos, Portugal factory (Mary Orlin)

We’ve become cork dorks! That’s right, while you may love the convenience and ease of screw caps, after today’s pod, you’ll never think about cork stoppers the same way.

Sure, cork has been used for centuries to seal wine bottles, and, you may know it comes from the bark of cork oak trees. You may not know 60% of the world’s cork comes from Portugal. That’s one reason we’re excited to have Carlos de Jesus, Marketing and Communications Director for Amorim Cork, the world’s largest cork producer, joining us on the pod from Amorim’s headquarters just outside of Porto.

Carlos de Jesus (photo credit: Daniel Rodriguez)

In August and September 2023, Mary Orlin visited Amorim’s two main factories and a cork oak farm while vacationing in Portugal. She met with several members of Amorim’s team, including Carlos, and was treated to an in-depth master class on cork. She was totally fascinated and wanted to share what she saw and learned with our podcast audience.

Mary O says you may not think much about the cork stopper when you pull it from the bottle, but there’s a lot that goes into getting that cork there in the first place.

Carlos walks us through cork’s journey and also shares how Amorim became the first cork manufacturer to identify and practically eliminate cork’s enemy, 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, also known as TCA, cork taint or cork spoilage (which smells like musty basements or wet newspaper).

Carlos is here today to talk about new progress in the world of wine corks.

For information about where to recycle your wine corks check out: ReCORK, Cork Forest Conservation Alliance and Cork Club.

Here are photos and videos Mary made during her Amorim visit in Portugal.

Manually punching natural cork stoppers from cork bark planks.

Processing corks at Amorim’s cork factory