Portuguese cork association launches awareness campaign

APCOR, the Portuguese Cork Association, has launched a campaign to save the oak forests in Portugal that produce the bark from which cork is processed.

Key to the UK-based campaign is the ilovenaturalcork.co.uk website. It calls on people to choose cork closures rather than “artificial wine stoppers” and support natural cork by signing a pledge.

“By doing just one small thing, wine drinkers in the UK have the power to bring about change that can help to protect the environment,” says APCOR.

According to Wine Intelligence research commissioned by APCOR, 96% of the UK’s 28.5 million wine drinkers claim to recycle wine bottles but two-thirds do not consider the environmental impact of the different stoppers when purchasing.

Of 1,500 British wine drinkers asked, one-in-20 (4%) stated they prefer synthetic stoppers while three-in-five (58%) said that once told of the “environmental, social and cultural benefits of natural cork, they would buy more wine sealed in a traditional way”.

APCOR says there will be a generic campaign in the UK using social networks, retailer activity and road shows in an effort to debunk “myths” about cork and other types of closure.

It says more than one in five people (22%) believe that oak trees are cuts down and 47% of the British public did not know that trees are not harmed. Cork trees have to be 25 years old before the bark is harvested and then it can be cut away every nine years for approximately 200 years.

According to the APCOR research 25% of British wine drinkers believe aluminum screwcaps are more environmentally friendly. The generic body for the cork industry claims that the production of natural cork stoppers is responsible for 10 times fewer carbon emissions that synthetic and 24 times fewer than screwcaps. The cork industry claims to be 100% sustainable and natural with zero waste.

The third and possibly most controversial as far as the wine trade is concerned, concerns TCA or corked wines. The cork industry claims to have invested millions in tackling taint. It says only 1% of 7,000 wines entered for the Concors Mondial de Bruxelles, were affected by TCA.

The statement concludes: “So, now is the time for wine drinkers to do one small thing to make a huge environmental difference. The new campaign asks them to visit www.ilovenaturalcork.co.uk and pledge support for natural cork. They can also join the conversation about natural cork on the Facebook page.”