Photo: Antonio Montuno
More and more often according to the international media coverage, the material is identified as an almost exclusive product from Portugal. And we, as proud Portuguese love this idea…. Not that s it entirely right but also it is not entirely wrong neither…
But what is the cork and what is its relation to Portugal?
It is a vegetal material taken from the Quercus suber (the Cork-Oak) and Portugal with its approximately 730hc of oak fields is the world leading producer of this material and is responsible for approximately 50% of the world production.
This material is taken from the oak trees every 9 years but the first removal can only be made when the tree is about 25 to 30 years old. The oak longevity is about 200 years old so it allows about 17 removals. The first and second removal are the weakest quality, and this is the reason why only upon the third removal, the cork can be used for wine bottling purposes. So the first removals are used for different purposes such as construction, design, health, energy production and other purposes.
During the late years more and more Portuguese artists and designers are using the cork for different purposes, not only with the aim of promoting green materials but also to promote the Portuguese identity as the cork is an icon.