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Ciudad Real, 09-11 de Mayo de 2017

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"The wine cork is a natural, biodegradable product that is respectful with the environment"

Enrique Vigas, President of the European Cork Federation, has made the latest advances and transformations in the cork industry known to all at FENAVIN

12.05.2011 | 

The almost 1200 wineries present at the National Trade Fair on Wine (FENAVIN), enjoyed the opportunity to be the first to find out about the advances and transformations taking place in the cork sector, hence being able to wager even more if possible on a part of the industry that has been historically essential in the bottling and winemaking process of Spanish wines. This is a resource that is gathering together even more guarantees for the wineries and the final consumer, with properties that can simply not be questioned, as is the case with its natural origin, its confirmed quality and its environmental and biodegradable nature.

In words of Enrique Vigas, President of the European Cork Confederation (Celiège) and lecturer at the conference hosted at FENAVIN, most of those in the cork production industry have carried out a "tremendous transformation in the last few years, always looking to advance and working on innovation of the product so that they can fully guarantee the corks they use. Added to its quality, we must remember that production of cork has a future before it," he underlined.

During his intervention Enrique Vigas wanted to make it quite clear that the sector is certainly not halted, progressing as it is with the times, even if with some logical restrictions in that pertaining to legislative matters, yet with unbeatable quality and sustainability. In this sense the President of the Celiège provided some very interesting information about this industry, such as the nil waste and residue, as it is 100% recyclable, producing between three and five times less CO2 emissions and consuming five times less energy.

Also, to be taken into account is the added value of marketing "as the market is increasingly more impregnated by the great advantages that cork has to offer, far more than other alternative products", he pointed out. The Confederation also adds an anagram or seal of quality to each bottle, which in turn ensures the winery owner's confidence in the product that is produced, as is likewise the case with the consumer who finally enjoys it. This is the 'Corkmark', an anagram that guarantees the quality of the cork, which in Vigas' opinion is "the most important marketing tool for the wine cork."

Another reason that Vigas brandishes in the choice of the wine cork is that 80% of consumers prefer this type of system for wine bottling.

Microoxygenation

With regards to this, the main representative of the cork producers also referred to the synthetic and aluminum corks that have been appearing in the last few years, which "have different properties and performance that has nothing to do with cork".

The representative of the Celiège also added that cork has the same root or origin as the cask, the quercus, and it is not an inert element without any organoleptic function, but in fact another ingredient in the winemaking process, "with a chemical reaction that is of the most important that take place in the product, as is microoxygenation of the wine", he pointed out.

In the opinion of the expert, cork is not going to be scarce in the future, as its production in Spain, Italy and France is optimal, and there is also a huge forest surface in the Maghreb countries, where its fabrication is currently showing a deficit due to the political problems involved and the disputes pertaining to the ownership of the cork plantations. Cork production in the world currently exceeds 12 billion corks for an amount of two billion Euros, providing work for 100,000 persons.

Enrique Vigas has already been present at various FENAVIN editions, always as a visitor, although this year will be his first as a lecturer. Without beating around the bush, he assures that this is the most important trade fair on wine in Spain, "there are others, however, they are not as concentrated and only FENAVIN is this exclusively dedicated to the world of wine."

The European Cork Federation, denominated Celiège, represents all the cork producing associations and it is member of the Brussels Forestry Commission, also participating in development of the European Council's directive on its suitability for contact with food products and collaborating with the European Committee for Standardization in the establishment of standards for the bottle necks, likewise working on the development of an international cork brand. To be highlighted among its research initiatives are the studies taking place on gaseous exchange in bottled wines and organoleptic analysis in bottle ageing wines. Celiège has established a cork quality guarantee system that is called Systecode, which duly accredits the product's quality, apart from the fact that the system is evaluated by the Bureau Veritas Institution.

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