Cork is the bark of Cork Oak trees that grow almost exclusively in one region of the world. The supply of cork is limited but guaranteed. Cork trees occupy vast areas and are constantly reproducing. The largest cork producing country is Portugal, followed by other Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Italy.
The collection of the cork, or the harvest, may be repeated every 9 years, and up to 12 or 15 harvests may be reaped. After this, the tree will no longer be acceptably productive.
Cork is available in many different grades, with overall wood quality being the difference. The quality relates directly to density, porosity, major and minor defects (cracks, holes, etc.), and cosmetic appearance. At Cork Specialties we import the absolute best quality on the market.
(Photo by Cazalla Montijano, Juan Carlos)