Do you care what type of stopper your wine bottle has in it? Cork is generally considered more environmentally friendly than screw caps or plastic stoppers, but over the past 15 years or so it lost about one-third of its market to alternative stoppers, mostly due to the concern of cork taint.

I ran across this 14-minute film produced by students at Pace University. “Battle Behind the Bottle” highlights the cork industry in Portugal and how it has risen to the challenge of competition. Carlos de Jesus, Communications Director for Amorin Cork says in the film, “we ought to thank the plastics and the screw caps for that proverbial kick in the pants” that got the cork industry to make positive changes quickly and decisively to remain competitive.

Cork forests are important. Losing them would not only be a blow to an industry; it would be a blow to the environment. Some of the world’s endangered species like the Iberian lynx and the Barbary deer make their homes in cork forests. Like other forests, they absorb carbon dioxide and prevent soil erosion. We need these forests to remain thriving.

I’m really happy to see that the cork industry has upped its sustainable game as well as improving the quality of the cork so it’s not as likely to cause taint as it used to be. Working with the Forest Stewardship Council to make sure the cork forests are biodiverse is both a smart business move and smart environmental move.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Putting cork, screw top and plastic wine stoppers into perspective
Student film "Battle Behind the Bottle" tells the story of the cork industry positive response to the “kick in the pants” screw tops and plastics gave it.