The R+D+i project CORK2WINE has ended after having achieved significant developments in improving competitiveness, sustainability, international positioning and the future viability of the Spanish cork sector. This material plays a fundamental role in promoting high-quality wines, as it allows the evolution of the product and its maintenance in optimal conditions, so the results of this project are intrinsically related to the sector winemaker
Thus, the main advances and results of this initiative have been presented in a closing ceremony held at the headquarters of the company Francisco Oller, who has led this project in which J. Vigas, Amorim Forestal, Quimivita, Muga and Vilarnau.
With a budget close to 5,000,000 euros, financed by the CDTI Innovation with FEDER funds from the European Union within the framework of the CIEN Strategic Program, CORK2WINE has also had the collaboration of several research groups: the Fundació Institut Català del Suro , the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology of the Superior Council of Scientific Research (IATA-CSIC), the Aroma Analysis and Oenology Laboratory of the University of Zaragoza, the Scientific and Technological Research Center of Extremadura (CICYTEX), Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) and the Madrid Institute of Rural, Agricultural and Food Research and Development (IMIDRA).
At the closing ceremony, the various CORK2WINE participants agreed to point out that the main conclusion of this project is that "wineries and companies in the cork sector cannot move forward separately". Thus, the research developed and the knowledge generated have allowed establishing the cork-wine binomial as an essential variable to guarantee the quality of the final product, as cork is a natural material that gives character to wines.
In this sense, the companies of the consortium have insisted on the importance of promoting and continuing to advance research around the cork-wine interaction to prevent this natural polymer from being replaced by other materials in the wine industry. In this way, they have indicated that the results of CORK2WINE are of great value because they set the foundations, as a starting point, to undertake other R+D+i initiatives that follow the same path that has been taken. Likewise, they highlighted the good climate of work and collaboration that has occurred between the companies and the research centers, which has made it possible to obtain "very positive and successful" results for both sectors and, even everything, for others such as cosmetics, which will be able to take advantage of the by-products generated following the principles of the circular economy.
Taking a comprehensive approach to cork research, this project has applied R&D to generate the knowledge needed to address the technological challenges affecting the entire domestic cork production chain. From the stages of primary production in the forest area to the final manufacture of wine stoppers, including processing. Work has also been done on the profitable and optimal use of the by-products and waste generated during the process, following the principles of the circular economy, to take advantage of their antioxidant properties in the cosmetics industry.
In this way, the development of CORK2WINE has been organized in a triple direction according to the interactions that occur along the cork value chain: cork oak-cork, cork-cap, cork-wine. Consequently, three lines of technical activities have been carried out. The first has been related to the forestry and genetic aspects of corks that affect the physiology and histology of cork and its interaction with wine. The second has had to do with cork processing, cork making and new applications for the by-products generated from cork manufacturing. Finally, the third has revolved around improving the sensory quality of the cork.
CORK2WINE is an R&D&i project that aims to apply a new comprehensive approach to cork research to address the advancement and overcoming of the current technological challenges of the national cork sector. From the stages of primary production in forestry to the subsequent manufacture of wine corks, this initiative also studies the profitable and optimal use of by-products and waste. In short, CORK2WINE aims to guarantee the competitiveness, sustainability, international positioning and future viability of the sector. The company Francisco Oller leads this project in which J. Vigas, Amorim Forestal, Quimivita, Muga and Vilarnau also participate. In addition, it has the collaboration of several research groups: the Fundació Institut Català del Suro, IATA-CSIC, University of Saragossa-LAAE, CICYTEX, CRAG and IMIDRA. Within the framework of the CIEN Strategic Program, CORK2WINE has a budget of almost 5,000,000 euros, financed by the Center for Industrial Technological Development and Innovation (CDTI Innovation), and partly with FEDER Funds from the European Union.