Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Branding the Cork.

Today I had the pleasure of spending the morning with my friends at Ganau, Vellum's cork producer.

Ganau has a superb staff and maintains an extremely high level of quality throughout the cork preparation process.

The raw cork is first washed with hydrogen peroxide to provide a uniform color. The corks are also screened for imperfections, by hand, multiple times before arriving at the processing facility.

Once the cork bales are approved by the winemaker (see Monday's Blog), they are loaded into a fire-branding machine that rolls each cork against a flame-heated metal brand. The brand burns its image into the cork as it rolls by. Again, corks are sorted at this point so that only the highest quality corks make it to the bottle.

Next the cork is loaded into a tumbler that applies a very thin layer of paraffin to the exterior. This allows the cork to be uncorked with very little resistance. It also prevents the cork from breaking.

After the tumbler, the corks go through a final baking/curing process right before shipment to the winery.

I hope you enjoy the photos...

And thank you again to Ganau for a great morning,

- Jeff Mathy


Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an interesting post! It is so interesting to learn about the long process corks go through. I just read on the latest copy of Swirl and Sip - - that up until the mid 17th century, French winemakers used rags soaked in oil and then stuffed into the necks of wine bottles, instead of corks. said...

Hi Makayla - thank you for the comment. I will look at the article in Swirl and Sip.