Cork, the traditional stopper for wine bottles, had been losing out to plastic versions and aluminium screw caps since 2007, as many premium wine-makers blamed it for occasionally tainting the flavour and 'corking' the wine.
However, the industry has since persuaded winemakers back to using cork by investing in research to detect the almost invisible signature of taint — the chemical compound TCA — and eliminating the tainted corks from their supply chain.
Cork is made from the protective outer layer of bark surrounding Quercus suber oak trees, which grow only in southwest Europe and northwest Africa.
In the early noughties, the industry went through a crisis after a spate low quality corks entered the supply chain, increasing instances of 'tainting' and leading winemakers to switch to screw tops and plastic stoppers.
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