Plantings that are more than a century old. Wines that have been maturing for a hundred years. I should have not been surprised then to learn that cork too is a marvel in patience as well. Firstly, if you did not already know this, cork comes from the bark of a kind of oak tree. Or cork tree if you like. They can grow up to 20 metres high and live for up to 250 years old.
However, before the bark can be “harvested“, it takes 25 years before the tree is mature enough. Even then, the first harvest is never used. The cork is not of a good enough quality. The bark though is removed so that the next growth cycle can begin which will produce bark that is smoother and denser. This can take up to 9 years. Sometimes this might produce bark that is good enough but usually it take another cycle. This means that cork trees may be close to 50 years old before it starts producing bark that can be used as cork!
Imagine then, if I was thinking of entering the cork business next week. I would be retired before I even start! So, yet again as I go around the Barossa, I am amazed at what goes into a bottle of wine. It is not just grapes from the last harvest. It is the passion and vision of the generations that have gone before. From Langmeil vineyard with vines dating back to 1843 (some of the oldest in the world) to Benno Seppelt who set aside his best wines for a hundred year maturation. It is amazing the vision the early pioneers possessed. It is nothing short of remarkable.