The Cork Industry
Worldwide and U.S.Production Estimates

Cork Quality Council 
Forestville CA

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A Renewable Resource

The Cork Forest

The Whistler Tree (World's Largest Cork Tree)

How Natural Cork  is Harvested 

Industry Statistics

Consumer Views on Natural Cork

CQC Quality Control Procedures

Suggested Winery QC Procedures

Visual Grading Standards


Progress in avoiding "Cork Taint"

CQC Members

Amorim Cork America

Corks Supply USA

Juvenal Direct

Lafitte Cork 
and Capsule

M.A. Silva
Corks USA

Portocork America

Scott Laboratories

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(1) Raw Cork Production

Cork is harvested exclusively from the Cork Oak, Quercus suber L., found predominantly in the Mediterranean region. Though the tree can flourish in many climates, the conditions that favor commercial use are fairly narrow. The major cork producing nations are listed below. 

Cork production has shown significant expansion in recent years - reflecting the impact of approximately 120,000 hectares of highly productive, new cork forests
in Spain and Portugal.

Country Forest Area Hectares  % of Worlds Forest Area Production
% of World's
Portugal 725,000 33% 175 52%
Spain 510,000 23% 110 32%
Italy 225,000 10% 20 6%
France 22,000 1% 5 1%
Morocco 198,000 9% 15 4%
Algeria 460,000 21% 6 2%
Tunisia 60,000 3% 9 3%
TOTAL 2,200,000 100% 340 100%

(2) Uses of Natural Cork

Cork is used in a variety of products - from construction materials to gaskets and most importantly - as a stopper for premium wines.  The cork industry employs an estimated 30,000 workers in a variety of jobs.

Wine corks are the most visible and most profitable of the many products derived from cork. They account for approximately 15% of total production by weight and two thirds of cork revenues.

The following table displays a comparison of the different segments of the cork industry as measured by revenue generated.

Industry Segment Value in Eurodollars (000)
Wine Stoppers $1,000,000
Floor & Wall Coverings $300,000
Expanded Agglomerated Cork $100,000
Other Products $100,000
Total Cork Products $1,500,000

(3) Wine Stoppers - Worldwide Estimates

Worldwide cork production is estimated to be slightly less than 13 billion wine stoppers per year.  This figure assumes a ratio of 250M wine corks per ton.  The estimate includes agglomerated cork stoppers and champagne corks.

(4) Natural Wine Stoppers - Domestic Market (USA)

The Domestic market shows steady growth, with estimated usage of natural corks exceeding 900 million this year. The market continues to expand with the growing premium segment of the U.S. wine market.  Growth in the market  is estimated at 7% annually.

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