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The overall value of the cork sector, a differentiating element that Spanish wines do not take advantage of enough

The forestry, industrial and wine sectors have agreed to affirm the Barcelona Wine Week (BWW) that cork and wine are "a winning tandem" and that the wine sector needs to incorporate the overall value of the cork sector as a differentiating element.

It is one of the conclusions of the round table "How to incorporate the socio-economic and ecological value of the cork sector in the world of wine?” promoted by the Institut Català del Suro Foundation (ICSuro) and which has allowed a quality debate on how the wine world can be nourished by the global value of the cork sector, whose environmental value is crucial and triples the economic value in monetary terms .

Among the main conclusions of the activity, it stands out that:

  • It is necessary to give visibility to cork as a differentiating element of Spanish wines and to develop a common story with the wine sector so that both worlds benefit from each other.
  • The added value of cork is the integration of aspects such as landscape, culture, fire prevention or biodiversity protection.
  • Wine consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable products; so, the natural origin of the cork or its negative carbon footprint must be another decisive factor to value the bottle of wine.

The general director of Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Management of the Generalitat took part in the activity Anna Sanitjas, the president of the Institut Català del Suro Foundation and the Association of Cork Entrepreneurs of Catalonia (AECORK) Joan J. Puig, the director of the Organización Interprofesional del Vino de España (OIVE) Susana Garcia and the academic director of the MANGO Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility at ESCI-UPF Silvia Ayuso. The debate was moderated by the director of ICSuro, Albert Hereu.

Joan J. Puig, president of the ICSuro and of AECOEK, considers that "cork is unique and unique for its ecosystem implications and for being a local product that gives added value in terms of sustainability to wineries. Without forgetting that the industrial sector dignifies the primary sector and looks after its future by allocating around 70% of the final value of the product to the raw material". In this sense, he adds that "the industrial sector asks the cork forester for more forest management in order to have more productive trees and to raise the current 30% of productive cork in Catalonia to 60% in order to help take care of the forests and the landscape and, in turn, prevent fires".

4,900 recycled corks

The Institut Català del Suro Foundation has recovered 4,900 corks for recycling at Barcelona Wine Week, 9% more than the previous year. Both entities are sustainability partners, and over the years they have already managed to give a second life to more than 13,500 corks, which have been used in circular economy projects applied to municipal urban planning by means of trees or playground pavements.

By Joan J. Puig, president of the Institut Català del Suro Foundation, "this strategic alliance with the most important wine fair in the country allows us to highlight the exceptional product that is the cork and explain to wineries that it is not only the best tool to help mature their wine or reduce the carbon footprint of its bottles, but choosing cork is the most sustainable option even beyond uncorking".

The cork recycling action consisted of the placement and management of 50 cork collection urns. The alliance for the achievement of the "Zero Waste" objective has been formalized between Celine Perez, director of the BWW, Marta Macias, project manager of the fair, and the president of ICSuro, Joan J. Puig.