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"Plastic, not axes, threatens cork forests"

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"Plastic, not axes, threatens cork forests"

Postby Di Blasi » Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:49 pm

An interesting story...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070806/sc_nm/cork_dc
...and we thought we had to save the cork trees!!
Maybe this will help convince whisky bottling to continue to use corks. Not that I mind other methods. What do you all think??
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Postby Ganga » Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:58 pm

I'll do my darndest to ensure that cork products continue to move. Whisky, check. Fishing tackle, check. Whisky, check. Wine, check. Whisky, check.

What can I say, I like whisky. :wink:
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Postby Di Blasi » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:23 pm

Good work Ganga! Yes, I'll do my part too, whisky whisky whisky. And wine of course too.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:31 pm

Seems to me like saying we need to keep catching fish to save cod stocks on the Grand Banks.

I was unaware that cork is quercus--an oak.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:58 pm

That's an interesting article Jonathan! Makes one think about the consequences of our purchasing behaviour. It usually ends up in a dilemma where one has to choose between cost or quality versus the ethical concerns - and before I saw this post I would have opted for synthetic cork or screw cork rather than natural cork because I so often have been dissappointed when the wine's gone bad due to faulty corks.

I'll certainly consider changing my purchasing habits but I have the feeling that the vintners are the ones to target if the natural cork producers wishes to gain something. I do however feel the case is lost already. As in most cases it's probably cheaper to produce synthetic than natural and the vintners themselves are probably interested in reducing the up to 20 % of damaged wine due to faulty corks.
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Postby Di Blasi » Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:06 am

And I thought the initial reasons behind turning to alternate methods of bottle closure was due to cork trees in Portugal becoming very limited, almost extinct. Time to rethink the whole "cork vs. other" discussion.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:01 am

I don't really think so. There are, in my mind, two distinct issues here: 1)
The appropriate closure for this product or that; 2) the ecological issue. The latter, if it is indeed an issue, ought to be addressed on its own merits. As for linking the economic with the ecological, look at the source of much of this information: "Battista Giannottu, an agronomist who works with a consortium representing Sardinia's cork producers." The phrase "works with" is fairly ambiguous, but it seems obvious to me where Giannottu is getting his bread buttered.

Still, this is quite an informative article. I found this paragraph interesting:

Lower grades are used for cheaper wines: cork granules are agglomerated with a type of glue to make the dense champagne corks that must withstand the pressure of sparkling wine. Offcuts are glued to plastic discs to make the type of stoppers found in some sherry bottles.

--And whisky bottles, no doubt. You're not even getting the good stuff, folks, and the reason is that it isn't necessary. I'll repeat what I've said elsewhere: There is no real reason why whisky needs to be closed with cork, and several reasons why it oughtn't. I have no doubt that a good-quality screwcap would serve the product better.
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Postby alea » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:44 pm

Never walked through a (cork) oaks forest on the hills in a sunny day? It's a unique sensation, stopping under an oak, sitting in its shadow, you hear only a light warm wind, you see landscapes of brown/dark green trees in a blue sky over an ocra earth... I still remember this after 25 years!

I think that if someone can have an economic return from an activity that regards also the conservation of the environment, this can help the environment itself more than 1.000.000 words about ecology and nature... An oak forest take more than 30 years before becoming productive, it means that we have to consider today what we want to use in the next 50 years (much time before harvesting or distilling...). In the meantime we enjoy an oak forest for half a century!

Yet it is important not to waste what we have today, so for very low quality wine it's better to use plastic cork or screwcap (and maybe never harvest it!)

The real threat for oak forests is fire and the substitution with other (more profitable) cultivations.

Yet, I would like to see in the label what kind of cap the bottle has, because often you cannot see it directly (this is true primarily for wine, but also whisky...); in this way everyone can freely choose, if he thinks that it is so important!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:50 pm

And then there is the issue of the millions of acres of Brazilian rainforest being cleared for vast screwcap plantations.

Oh, sorry, the coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet.... You make good points, alea, especially in echoing what the article says about "more profitable cultivations". But I find problematic the idea of tying ecology to economy. If the latter is dependent on the former, all well and good; but if the former is dependent on the latter, I think you have trouble, because it means ecological concerns will be cast aside when the economic factors change. Seeing to it that the maintenance of cork forests is in a landowner's best interest is a good thing, I suppose (and I say that without any real knowledge of the ecology of such forests); but landowners are naturally wary of governments telling them what to do with their land. It's a tricky thing, I imagine, and I am only musing on what I would guess are some of the issues involved. But again, I think it's worth noting how and why stories like this get into the press in the first place, and seeing, as I suggested above, where quoted "experts" are getting their bread buttered.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:23 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:And then there is the issue of the millions of acres of Brazilian rainforest being cleared for vast screwcap plantations.......................But I find problematic the idea of tying ecology to economy. If the latter is dependent on the former, all well and good; but if the former is dependent on the latter, I think you have trouble, because it means ecological concerns will be cast aside when the economic factors change.

Interesting points and I certainly agree with you. But the interesting aspect of ecology and economy is the future interdependence of those two factors. What we'll see above all is that you simply cannot have economic profits without ecological factors providing a stable basis (put very simple of course). The more you pollute and overtax the resources the less likely it is to yield profits. The only way a modern business - which after all the hubbub from the spindoctors are peeled off - will think about ecological matters is if a poor ecological approach threatens future profits. And although this is happening as we speak it isn't really self-regulatory unless the polluter/consumer/whoever threaten their own possible profits and livelihood. It isn't as simple when they threatens someone elses....... which makes your rainforest example so illustrating.

I fear it's too late though. In a perfect world everyone behaves propperly because it's rational to do so. Take care of the environment and be rewarded with profits. But it doesn't work that way once you've reached the point of no return. The problem is just too complex for man to fully understand and act accordingly. It would be nice to take a nap under a cork tree though?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:41 pm

Yeah, we're not as smart as we think we are, and we think we're exempt from all the rules of the universe.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it." --Tommy Lee Jones, Men In Black (I hate myself for making these pop-culture references, I really do....)
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