“Cork is a sign of quality for wine,” says Elisa Pedro, the Director of Communication & International Relations for APCOR, the consortium of Portuguese cork producers. That’s why she doesn’t have to worry about the increasing adoption of synthetic closures and screw caps in the wine industry.
Or does she? The press release she’s quoted in isn’t about the success of cork in a free market. It’s about a new Spanish law requiring eleven of the country’s wine producing regions to use only cork closures in order to qualify for Denominacion de Origen status. APCOR spins the law as an endorsement of cork’s quality, but in truth it’s an acknowledgement of cork’s defects. Successful products don’t need laws requiring their use. Protectionism is the last resort of an industry in decline.
Not coincidentally, 32% of the world’s cork production comes from Spain.
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