Assistant winemaker, Collette O'Leary was invited by cork manufacturers Amorim to visit the cork forests and factories in Portugal this week. The trip offered a fascinating insight into the harvesting and production of cork.
Cork is harvested for two months a year, with the harvest still conducted by hand. It's a very specialist job to harvest the cork without damaging the trees. Each tree is then left for 9 years before it can be harvested again. Only the very best grade cork goes into making corks for still and sparkling wines. But nothing is wasted - the poorer quality cork is used for making shoes and sandals and even flooring!