(1) Raw Cork ProductionCork 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
(2) Uses of Natural CorkCork 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.
(3) Wine Stoppers - Worldwide EstimatesWorldwide 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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