Author: Amorim Cork South Africa

Méthode Cap Classique producers have until 19 July to submit their wines for this year’s Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge, the only competition dedicated exclusively to honouring Cap Classique wines. Amorim Cork SA, which is sponsoring the event for the 18th consecutive year, is the convenor of this unique wine competition in conjunction with the Cap Classique Producers Association.

The South African wine grape harvest 2019 has hit a record low, largely due to the preceding drought and fluctuating weather conditions during the season. Winemakers are, however, positive about the quality of this year’s vintage. The 2019 wine grape crop is estimated at 1 225 620 tonnes, according to the latest estimate of industry body Sawis (South African Wine Industry Information & Systems) on 26 April 2019. Although only 1.4% smaller than last year, the crop has shrunk for the second consecutive year and 2019 represents a record low since 2005 when 1 171 632 tonnes were harvested.

Amorim South Africa hosts various themed tastings of Portuguese wines during each year, inviting local winemakers to experience a taste of the country’s diverse regions and to thank them for their support. The wines are selected to showcase the ageability of these wines as well as their distinct regionality. We recently tasted the wines from Barraida, and Emile Joubert was there to document this event which was held at Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek. The Barraida region of Portugal is rugged in its desolate greenness, knots of pine-trees perched on hill-tops overlooking vineyards snaking down the slopes. During the wet winters and warm summers hardy, broad-faced people farm the vines and the cabbages, the beans and the pigs - the latter generating Barraida’s status as suckling-pig capital of the world. Offering crispy-skinned and sweet-fleshed sustenance to the hungry and tired travellers crossing the province during the long trip north from Lisbon.

Known for its durability, insulation, sustainable and aesthetic qualities cork by Amorim Cork has found application in décor and design in all corners of the globe. In its latest creative application, Amorim Cork is now being used in an über-cool and innovative design called Skulpod, an igloo-style modular structure conceptualised and designed by South Africans Nouschka Očenášek and Ryan Ashworth.

It was interesting and informative to see South African wine lovers reflecting the world-wide trend of choosing natural cork as the preferred closure for their bottle of wine. In the first reader survey done by www.winemag.co.za, one of the leading authorities on South African wine news, trends and opinions, 61% of readers stated natural cork as their closure of choice -  that figure increasing to more than two thirds of respondents if technical cork stoppers are included.

Despite all the long-hours, sweat and hard-work, there is something magical about the harvest season. For us in the cork industry, it lies in the satisfaction of seeing the just-cut bark from the cork oaks arriving at our plants in southern Portugal to be processed. It smells of earth and fresh wood, a truly natural product from wild forests, each tree stripped of its bark every nine years.

With the current global demand for cork stoppers surpassing 12bn units annually and the wine market’s upward growing curve, the world’s leading cork-company Amorim is going back to basics to ensure sufficient supply of quality product for the years ahead. And by going back to basics we are talking about the source of cork, namely the quercus suber, also known as the cork oak tree. Speaking to the popular Grandes Escolhas Magazine, Antonio Amorim, president of Amorim Cork told of the company’s plans to ensure unhindered supply of product from a new generation of cork forests.