The process

  1. Harvest
    Cutters use axes to remove the bark, leaving the treetops untouched. Cork can be harvested once every nine years.

  2. Soaking
    The cork is transported to factories where it is left to dry then soaked in boiling water at 98C to flatten the slabs.

  3. Cutting
    Roundels are cut from bark strips; leftovers are then shredded and used to make less expensive corks.

  4. Best of the best
    Premium cork is taken to facilities where robots guide the bark and master craftsmen punch out one-piece stoppers. They are then branded.

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