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The Tap de Finca, the guiding thread of the 5th Tap and Cork Fair in Cassà

The cellar Close of Agon has been the stage for the presentation of the fifth edition of the Tap and Cork Fair, the winery that participates in the project "Finca caps" of the DO Empordà and the Catalan Institute of Cork Foundation, is located in Les Gavarres and represents the meeting point of the cork and wine sector, with its vineyards surrounded by cork overlooking the sea.

The event began with the demonstration of the cork peel, in front of the winery, by Eloi Madrià who knows the tradition of cork peeling, a traditional craft that has been preserved over time and that respects the growth rate of the tree.

The Cork and Cork Fair vindicates the cork heritage of the territory and makes a journey from the tradition and the old trades of traditional corkers to the most technological innovations that give cork new applications.

This year the program that has been presented recovers many of the activities that had been canceled due to the pandemic, such as the tasting of the peelers' breakfast and the "Xic-chec", the popular dinner of the old tapers.

The Taps de Finca project promoted by the Institut Català del Suro and DO Empordà will be very present at the fair, which presents a round table on this initiative and a tasting of wines covered with Taps de Finca.

More than 300,000 bottles covered with 'Taps de finca'

More than 300,000 bottles of DO Empordà wines have been capped so far with the 'Taps de finca', the mark that identifies these local corks made with quality native cork extracted from cork oaks located in the same Emporda wineries or nearby farms. Currently, there are a dozen Empordà wineries that use 'Taps de finca' to cover thirty Empordà DO wines, mainly black and white guards.

The Institut Català del Suro and the Regulatory Council of DO Empordà created the 'Taps de finca' brand to recognize these local corks. The initiative, which was launched in 2018 and is being developed progressively, wants to highlight the value of native cork, contribute to its recovery and favor the management of the cork forests of the Empordà.

The peeling of the cork, a consolidated event in the corkage of Can Vilallonga

Once again the cork peeling will be one of the central events that will inaugurate the activities of the fair, on Saturday morning.

Cork peeling is the process of extracting the outer bark of the cork oak that takes place at intervals of between 9 and 14 years depending on the climatology of each point on the peninsula (in Catalonia, on average 14 years). The first peeling takes place when the cork oak is between 35 and 40 years old and is practiced only if the trunk has a minimum diameter of between 65 and 70 centimeters. It is not until the third peel when the cork is suitable for making corks. The reproductive life of a cork oak is between 170 and 250 years.

Catalonia has 124,000 hectares of cork and approximately half of which are pure cork. Currently, about 7,000 tons of cork are mined annually, but the production potential is 11,000 tons per year, an amount that is equivalent to the current need for raw material in the Catalan cork industry.

Forecasts for this year's cork peel are positive. Despite coming from a very dry winter, the rains in March and April have turned the situation around. Now the cork oaks are changing their leaves and preparing for flowering. Once these two processes have been completed, the cam can be started. However, a new bout of rain during the month of May would ensure a good cam campaign including the most marginal and dry areas.

Presentation of the Cork Studies Chair and the new exhibition at the Palafrugell Cork Museum

As part of the fair, Dr. Rosa Ros, director of the Cork Studies Chair, will present these studies that aim to promote multidisciplinary research in the cork sector.

The director of the Museu del Suro, Pep Espadalé, will also present the museum's new permanent exhibition in the Àgora area of the Fair.

More than fifty scheduled activities

The program includes a wide variety of proposals, from wine tastings, concerts, talks and dissemination about the world of cork, demonstration of the craft of the old corkers, children's workshops, market of products made with cork, and many activities throughout the weekend.