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The cellars of the DO Empordà have started this month to bottle their wines with corks made from cork extracted from cork oaks located in the Empordà cellars themselves or on nearby farms. In this way the project promoted jointly by the Catalan Institute of Cork and the Regulatory Council of DO Empordà, with the collaboration ofAssociació d'Empresaris Surers de Catalunya (AECORK), which aims to highlight the singular confluence of cork and vines in the same territory: Empordà. The two institutions have created the 'Taps de finca' brand to identify these local corks made with local, quality cork.


A long process of elaboration

More than a year ago, the cork oaks of the wineries participating in the initiative were tapped. The cam is the cork extraction process that is carried out in a completely manual way by the so-called peelers who, with an axe, make a circular cut in the trunk of the cork, cut the bark longitudinally and they start The extracted cork has been left to rest for almost a year in the open air to acquire the necessary properties for the cap. Once rested, the cork is boiled to increase its volume and make it more elastic and flexible. And finally it is cut to give it the desired shape.


Guarantee traceability

The 'Taps de finca' have been produced by Catalan cork companies. The Catalan Cork Institute has designed a traceability system that guarantees that participating wineries will use cork from their local area. Control of the product's origin is maintained throughout the process, from extraction and preparation, through its passage through the factory and to final delivery to the winery participating in the initiative. The project, which wants to have continuity over time, will be developed progressively. In total, twenty wineries from the Empordà participate in the program.

It should be noted that the Catalan cork needs on average 14 years to reach the necessary thickness - approx 4 centimeters - to be used to make caps. Unlike other producing areas such as Extremadura, Andalusia or Portugal where growth is faster - with 9 years on average being sufficient -, in Catalonia this process is slower. But precisely this slowing gives the cork a greater density and, consequently, improves its quality for making corks.

Precisely, Participating Empordà wineries will especially use 'Estate Caps' to cover their best wines. A brand that will bring added value to them with the meaning of a quality, close and sustainable product. The aim of creating the brand is to highlight native cork, contribute to its recovery and promote the management of the Empordà cork oak forests. The program, which is made a reality thanks to the link between the cork and Catalan wine sectors, will contribute to the environmental and landscape conservation of the territory so that present and future generations can enjoy it. The cork oak represents nearly 45% of the treed surface in Baix Empordà and 25% in Alt Empordà. And the regions of Girona concentrate 80% of the hectares of cork in Catalonia and the largest number of cork oak trees in all of Spain. These forests favor the prevention of fires as they reduce their intensity and the spread of fires.