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Stubble

In Austria, common term (also stopper) for the cork; see there.

The Assyrians, Egyptians and Greeks were already familiar with the cork stopper in early antiquity. Cork stoppers were also sometimes used to seal amphorae. In most cases, however, stoppers made of terracotta (clay) were used, which were fastened with twine and then sealed with varnish, clay or pitch. The Roman author Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) wrote that wine jugs had to be sealed with cork and pitch after fermentation. The Romans were already familiar with this type of closure, but it was forgotten again with the fall of the Roman Empire. Presumably because the Iberian Peninsula, the main source of cork bark, was conquered by the Moors in the 8th century and ruled for a long time. Until the late Middle Ages, vessels were sealed with wooden plugs dipped in oil and wrapped in hemp, pitch or wax.

With the development of glass bottles, glass stoppers were initially used, but corks were rediscovered at the beginning of the 17th century. The alleged inventor of champagne Dom Pérignon (1638-1715) also experimented with it. Due to the different bottle neck sizes, the corks initially had a conical shape and were only half-sunk for easier removal. It was not until the development of usable corkscrews that they were given a cylindrical shape and were now driven fully into the neck of the bottle. From the middle of the 17th century, corks became the dominant type of closure for bottles, which led to a rapid boom in the cork industry.

Schaumweinkorken, Naturkorken, Presskorken, Kunststoffkorken

Manufacture

The natural cork stopper is mainly made from the thick, outer bark of the most suitable cork oak "Quercus suber". More than half of the world's production comes from Portugal, other countries are Spain, Algeria, Italy and Morocco. The trees, which can grow up to 10 metres tall, can be used for around 200 years. However, they can only be peeled for the first time when they are 25 years old; the bark is only suitable for bottle corks from the age of 45. A tree can be debarked around 15 times at intervals of 9 to 12 years. The bark is stored for at least a year, then boiled in water, pressed, cut into slabs and sorted according to quality. Strips are cut from these and the cylindrical plugs are punched out. They are produced in a length of 38 to 60 mm; longer corks usually also mean a higher quality of wine. The blanks are smoothed at the end faces and ground round. They are then bleached and impregnated with a waxy substance to make the cork stopper more slippery. Finally, the...

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