Although there is some historical proof suggesting that cork was utilized as a stopper around 2,000 years back, its utilization became progressively prevalent with the introduction of glass bottles in the seventeenth century. In recent years, different alternatives, for example, capsules and plastic stoppers have been presented as closures for wine bottles. In any case, cork still remains the principal conclusion of decision for premium wines.
Properties of Cork
The cork tissue is created by a special layer of cells called “cork cambium.” The cambium is a part of the outer bark of the (cork oak) tree and is responsible for the generation of a thick and uniform layer of cork cells.
The cork tissue comprises of numerous layers of tiny cells. The average diameter of these cells is 0.03 mm and there are around 15 to 42 million cells for each cubic centimetre. The individual cell has four to nine sides and has a small amount of air entrapped in it. The cell divider is comprised of wax, suberin, lignin, and different materials. The wax and suberin are complex polymers which make the cells impermeable to gasses and liquids.
The texture of plug tissue is generally homogenous. Some inhomogeneity occurs because of the presence of thin-walled cells with intercellular spaces. These cells are known as lenticels. A high-quality stopper has fewer lenticels.
The plug has numerous remarkable qualities which make it an ideal stopper for wine bottles. A portion of the significant qualities incorporates compressibility, resilience, impermeability to liquids, low density, minimal tendency to rot, and a high coefficient of friction.