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What is Cork Made Of?

what is cork made of?

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing closures for wine bottles, but perhaps the most basic is cork.  Although most people that drink wine know what cork looks like, some often wonder what is cork made of?

The basic answer here is that cork is made of wood.  But that’s not entirely true either.  Typically we think of wood as being the trunk of the tree, but cork is really only the water resistant cells that separate the outside of the tree’s bark, from the inside. If you stop and think about it for a second, normally seeing a soggy cork is a really bad sign right? It’s also rare.  Compare that with a piece of wood that you leave in the backyard before it rains.  The rain soaks in quite a bit right? So cork is a part of a tree, much like wood, but not exactly.

How Cork is Harvested:

Cork is traditionally grown in Portugal and is 100% sustainable.  It’s easy to think of sheep as something similar, you can shave off their excess wool and it grows back.  The exact same thing happens with a cork tree, the cork can be shaved off and it grows back.  That process of shaving and regrowing means that the product itself is sustainable, but also that while we traditionally think of cork as being made of wood, that’s not entirely accurate.

So what is cork made of?

The technically correct term is that it’s park of a tree’s bark, but yeah, most people are going to say it’s wood.  That’s close but not quite right.

Lastly, I found an interesting video that shows the process of shaving a cork tree as it happens in Portugal:

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