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Cork, vital for the growth of the wine economy

In recent years, the participation in the premium wine market at national and international level has increased considerably. But, what are the keys for a wine to be considered premium? Undoubtedly, the cork sector plays a very important role in this value chain.

Last May 31, a workshop that collected and analyzed the most interesting data about theexport of the wine sector, in addition to the growth of its economy in international markets and consumer behavior in the US and Chinese markets. This was organized by the Catalan Institute of Cork Foundation (ICSuro), theAssociation of Catalan Sugar Entrepreneurs (AECORK) and Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR).

It was attended by great experts in the sector at national and international level, such as Pau Roca, director general of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), Dorian Tang, Education Director at “ASC Fine Wines” leading wine importer and distributor in China and Mike Veseth, editor of “The Wine Economist” rated as the world's best wine blog in 2015.

In the first place, Pau Roca explored the opportunities of the wine economy in Spain, its export and the fundamental role that the cork sector plays in the growth. "Cork is a natural material that allows better aging of the wine and the corks offer a negative carbon balance. But the most important thing is sustainability and the thousands of hectares behind each plug, the sacks that are made every 9/14 years, the forest... It's wonderful to be able to sustain this thanks to the plugs and therefore the advantages that cork contributes to the wine economy are incomparable to other materials” affirmed Pau Roca in the seminar.

These statements were corroborated by international experts, who took a tour of the key points in the economy of the wine sector in the United States and China, and also highlighted the current challenges of exporting Spanish wine to these markets."Regular wine consumers are no longer looking for "the best bargains", but instead opt for the premium factor of wine, and most of these are corked” says Mike Veseth. On the other hand, Dorian Tang reinforced the argument of the international consumption of premium wine and associated it with those sealed with cork: “There is a growing trend of sustainable sealing of wine bottles in China, and cork is directly related to this. In addition, it is synonymous with quality, as the 95% of the best wines in China are sealed with cork.”

Cork is the perfect closure for wine

According to the recent study of Nielsen, a global leader in consumer trend information, data and audience analytics, conducted in 2020, in the United States there is a marked preference for the use of natural cork when purchasing premium wines. More than 70% of the top 100 premium wine brands are sealed with cork, and these have also grown in sales and market share in recent years.

Experts in the cork sector say so. Seconds Joan J. Puig, president of AECORK: “It has been proven that international markets have a preference for the cork and that consumers perceive it as a guarantee that the wine it closes is of quality. Due to its technical characteristics, its sustainable implications and its commitment to maintaining the biodiversity of cork, cork is irreplaceable. We are corks and we are proud to defend what is natural. We will continue to ask the world to be ambassadors for our product".

"We are very satisfied with the outcome of the workshop due to the quality of the presentations and the number of attendees. I believe that the information provided will facilitate the adoption of sound strategic decisions in wineries in an extremely turbulent international context. With this webinar we consolidate the cork-wine alliance, which goes far beyond closing the bottles” says Albert Hereu, Director of the Institut Català del Suro Foundation and spokesman for the InterCork initiative.