The Whistler Tree grows in the Alentejo region of Portugal and is over 230 years old. It has been producing the finest quality wine corks every nine years since 1820.
This year’s harvest yielded 825kg of raw cork – enough for 100,000 wine bottles. As a comparison, the average cork oak produces material for 4,000 bottles.
The Whistler Tree was previously harvested in 2000, and on the traditional nine-year schedule, will next be harvested in 2018.
The Whistler Tree is in excellent condition and is well on its way to produce a total lifetime production of over one million corks.
Natural Cork is produced from the bark of Cork Oak Tree (Quercus Suber) which grows predominantly in the western Mediterranean region. The Cork bark is removed every nine to ten years, when it becomes thick enough to provide viable commercial use.
The process is temporarily debilitating but the outer bark quickly regenerates and the tree continues to flourish. Studies show that regular harvesting generally improves the trees health and vigor.
A healthy forest is good news for the Mediterranean environment.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, “cork oak landscapes are one of the best examples of balanced conservation and development anywhere in the world. They also play a key role in ecological processes such as water retention, soil conservation, and carbon storage. Their conservation is crucial.”
The Cork Quality Council is a non-profit group organized to improve quality assurance programs for its membership. The group is comprised of Amorim Cork America, Cork Supply USA, Ganau America, Juvenal Direct, Lafitte Cork & Capsule, M.A.Silva Corks USA, Portocork America and Scott Laboratories.
The Cork Quality Council has successfully developed and introduced methods for screening cork shipments for chemical associated with cork taint now adopted as the wine industry standard. These screening methods are considered one of the primary reasons why the industry has seen such dramatic improvement in recent cork quality.
For more information or to see source material – please visit http://www.corkqc.com/.