Cork oak trees are common in the West Mediterranean area, focus in Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Algeria. Portugal is responsible for 50% of the world cork production.
Cork Oaks have a long life compared with humans. In Águas de Moura, you will find the oldest cork oak in the world. Planted in 1783 has been harvested more than 20 times. Has the amazing record of 1200 kgs taken in bark (1991).
The technique which professionals use they call it : Stripping . The process remains the same along centuries while production of the forests grows. Professionals is an axe and for them its easy to remove the bark from the trunk, without damage the tree.
For the first stripping procees, cork oak should have 25 years old, 1,3 meters high and the trunk with more than 70 centimeters. After the first stripping process the cork oak follows an interval of every nine years (minimum).
Excellent Cork Oaks grows mainly in the South of Portugal, where they find the ideal conditions, which are: temperatures of -5ºC to 40ºC , 100 to 300 meters of altitude, sandy soils of low phosphorus and nitrogen, acid pH from 4.8 to 7.0. Due to the weather conditions of this region the industry notice that rainfall should be between 400 to 800mm er year.
The bark is not used after the stripping process. It remains in piles outdoor on own structure during a period of six months. The idea is the bark becomes stable .
Cork Oak products and sectors
Cork makes several different products. The most common ones, are cork stoppers on most of the Portuguese wines styles. However, you will also in wines from France, Australia, United States of America, Spain, Chile and many others.
Construction sector uses also cork products, specially in floors, walls and roofs (isolation of sound and temperature).
Cinema and specially Hollywood production uses also cork for special effects. Films such as Mission Impossible, Ghostbusters ( and many others ) you will find the use of this raw material.
Fashion becomes a sector on last decade to use cork. From shoes to caps, umbrella´s, hats, wallets and many other articles are using this excellent product.