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Cork harvesting

Cork harvesting is the stripping the outer bark of cork oaks. This generally takes place between middle of May or early June to mid or end of August. It takes at least three bark strippings in three sucessive cycles of 9 years before obtaining a cork quality that will mature in a way that is suitable for producing natural cork stoppers.

The very first cork bark harvesting or “Desboia”, reveals a cork structure which is highly irregular and high in terms of hardness, making it particularly difficult to process.This sort of cork is called “cortiça virgem”.

The second harvest -nine years later- yiels a cork exhibiting a high surface roughness at the centre. This makes it unsuitable for subsequent processing into natural cork stoppers. The product of the 2nd harvest is called “cortiça secundeira”.

The third harvest -at least 18 years after the 1st harvesting- yields a quality suitable to process into natural cork stoppers. It shows a regular structure and a soft centre core. It’s called “cortiça amadia” or “cortiça de reprodução”.
After the 2nd harvest each cork tree will normally yield good cork quality every nine years for 150 to 200 years, in other words, on average the cork three will yield 15 to 20 harvestings throughout its life.