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Thread: Mushroom corks

  1. #1
    ViLco Guest

    Default Mushroom corks

    There are 2 kind of corks made of cork: the cilindric ones, used for non
    sparkling wines, and those made of a lower cilindric part and an upper,
    larger, dome shaped part that's the part one grabs to open the bottle. The
    latter are used for sparkling wines, as is champagne. Usually the lower part
    is made of good cork whose quality maxes at the bottom end (the one in
    contact with the wine) and decreases while climbing up towards the upper
    part of the cork, which is made of minced and glued low quality cork bits.
    In Italy, these 2 parts corks are called "tappi a fungo", which translates
    to "mushroom corks": what are theyr english and french name?
    --
    Vilco
    Mai guardare Trailer park Boys senza
    qualcosa da bere a portata di mano



  2. #2
    Ronin Guest

    Default Re: Mushroom corks

    On 2009-09-15 03:54:48 -0700, "ViLco" <[email protected]> said:

    > There are 2 kind of corks made of cork: the cilindric ones, used for non
    > sparkling wines, and those made of a lower cilindric part and an upper,
    > larger, dome shaped part that's the part one grabs to open the bottle. The
    > latter are used for sparkling wines, as is champagne. Usually the lower part
    > is made of good cork whose quality maxes at the bottom end (the one in
    > contact with the wine) and decreases while climbing up towards the upper
    > part of the cork, which is made of minced and glued low quality cork bits.
    > In Italy, these 2 parts corks are called "tappi a fungo", which translates
    > to "mushroom corks": what are theyr english and french name?


    As a consumer on the west coast of the US, I can definitivly say we
    call them "corks". :-)
    In my experience, the US/Champagne joint ventures all use large corks
    which are the same
    all the way through. If you let them sit for a couple of days after
    opening the wine, they
    will expand to have relatively straight sides. While I've seen the
    composite corks you describe,
    I've never heard them called anything other than "corks."


  3. #3
    Bruce Edwards Guest

    Default Re: Mushroom corks

    Ronin wrote:
    > On 2009-09-15 03:54:48 -0700, "ViLco" <[email protected]> said:
    >
    >> There are 2 kind of corks made of cork: the cilindric ones, used for non
    >> sparkling wines, and those made of a lower cilindric part and an upper,
    >> larger, dome shaped part that's the part one grabs to open the bottle.
    >> The
    >> latter are used for sparkling wines, as is champagne. Usually the
    >> lower part
    >> is made of good cork whose quality maxes at the bottom end (the one in
    >> contact with the wine) and decreases while climbing up towards the upper
    >> part of the cork, which is made of minced and glued low quality cork
    >> bits.
    >> In Italy, these 2 parts corks are called "tappi a fungo", which
    >> translates
    >> to "mushroom corks": what are theyr english and french name?

    >
    > As a consumer on the west coast of the US, I can definitivly say we call
    > them "corks". :-)
    > In my experience, the US/Champagne joint ventures all use large corks
    > which are the same
    > all the way through. If you let them sit for a couple of days after
    > opening the wine, they
    > will expand to have relatively straight sides. While I've seen the
    > composite corks you describe,
    > I've never heard them called anything other than "corks."
    >

    The bulk of sparkling wine corks (stoppers) are manufactured
    cylindrical. They are then only partially inserted into the bottle.
    That part which remains outside of the bottle tends to expand towards
    it's original size. But this is also constrained by the wire hood.
    These factors account for the mushroom shape.

    The body of the stopper is indeed made from "grain", granular pieces of
    cork which are strictly controlled and bonded together with an adhesive.
    This is called an "agglo", as in agglomerate. Make note that
    this is not an economic technique as with cheap still wine corks. It is
    a structural one. "Natural" (one piece)cork would be totally
    inappropriate for sparkling wine. On quality sparkling wine corks there
    are 1 or 2 disks glued to the end of the agglo body, and in touch with
    the product. The quality of these discs, and whether there are 1 or 2
    of them, is the real measure of the quality of the stopper. There are
    other important nuances to their manufacture, but suffice it to say that
    they are seriously engineered for performance. They must stay in the
    bottle (not be "fliers" which can cause injury), but must be removable
    lest consumers try to use a tool to extract them (also dangerous). Some
    manufacturers extrude the agglo bodies in sticks, and cut them to
    length. The better ones form them in individual molds - much more
    expensive, but better physical dynamics. Coatings are critical. QC is
    exigent.

    -Bruce

  4. #4
    Ronin Guest

    Default Re: Mushroom corks

    On 2009-09-16 20:54:15 -0700, Bruce Edwards <[email protected]> said:

    > The bulk of sparkling wine corks (stoppers) are manufactured
    > cylindrical. They are then only partially inserted into the bottle.
    > That part which remains outside of the bottle tends to expand towards
    > it's original size. But this is also constrained by the wire hood.
    > These factors account for the mushroom shape.
    >
    > The body of the stopper is indeed made from "grain", granular pieces of
    > cork which are strictly controlled and bonded together with an
    > adhesive. This is called an "agglo", as in agglomerate. Make
    > note that this is not an economic technique as with cheap still wine
    > corks. It is a structural one. "Natural" (one piece)cork would be
    > totally inappropriate for sparkling wine. On quality sparkling wine
    > corks there are 1 or 2 disks glued to the end of the agglo body, and in
    > touch with the product. The quality of these discs, and whether there
    > are 1 or 2 of them, is the real measure of the quality of the stopper.
    > There are other important nuances to their manufacture, but suffice it
    > to say that they are seriously engineered for performance. They must
    > stay in the bottle (not be "fliers" which can cause injury), but must
    > be removable lest consumers try to use a tool to extract them (also
    > dangerous). Some manufacturers extrude the agglo bodies in sticks, and
    > cut them to length. The better ones form them in individual molds -
    > much more expensive, but better physical dynamics. Coatings are
    > critical. QC is exigent.
    >
    > -Bruce


    Interesting... Do you know what was used before "agglo"? I presume
    that that is a relatively recent "improvement".

    Jim


  5. #5
    Bruce Edwards Guest

    Default Re: Mushroom corks

    Ronin wrote:
    > On 2009-09-16 20:54:15 -0700, Bruce Edwards <[email protected]> said:
    >
    >> The bulk of sparkling wine corks (stoppers) are manufactured
    >> cylindrical. They are then only partially inserted into the bottle.
    >> That part which remains outside of the bottle tends to expand towards
    >> it's original size. But this is also constrained by the wire hood.
    >> These factors account for the mushroom shape.
    >>
    >> The body of the stopper is indeed made from "grain", granular pieces
    >> of cork which are strictly controlled and bonded together with an
    >> adhesive. This is called an "agglo", as in agglomerate. Make
    >> note that this is not an economic technique as with cheap still wine
    >> corks. It is a structural one. "Natural" (one piece)cork would be
    >> totally inappropriate for sparkling wine. On quality sparkling wine
    >> corks there are 1 or 2 disks glued to the end of the agglo body, and
    >> in touch with the product. The quality of these discs, and whether
    >> there are 1 or 2 of them, is the real measure of the quality of the
    >> stopper. There are other important nuances to their manufacture, but
    >> suffice it to say that they are seriously engineered for performance.
    >> They must stay in the bottle (not be "fliers" which can cause injury),
    >> but must be removable lest consumers try to use a tool to extract them
    >> (also dangerous). Some manufacturers extrude the agglo bodies in
    >> sticks, and cut them to length. The better ones form them in
    >> individual molds - much more expensive, but better physical dynamics.
    >> Coatings are critical. QC is exigent.
    >>
    >> -Bruce

    >
    > Interesting... Do you know what was used before "agglo"? I presume
    > that that is a relatively recent "improvement".
    >
    > Jim
    >

    I can't speak about the 17th century, but prior to the age of
    mechanization (not all that long ago, in Portugal), I believe that cork
    bark for sparkling wine was hand cut into sheets, laminated together,
    then the stopper carved from those laminated blocks. For a wine under
    pressure, the rings of the cork bark need to be at right angles to the
    pressure. This is not the case with still wine corks. If you look at
    the ends of a natural still wine cork, you can usually discern the tree
    rings. The discs that are now glued on the end of a Champagne cork are
    cut parallel with the tree rings. It's a little harder to see, but the
    rings would be visible on a sparkling cork disc from the side. They are
    less permeable this way. The finest stoppers may even have 3 of these
    discs glued to the end. Very expensive. The finest quality cork bark
    is reserved for the discs for sparkling wine corks. If you want to get
    into some of the minutia of cork, check out the Cork Quality Council
    website. The CQC is an industry association dedicated to educating
    wineries & consumers about natural cork. It was actually formed in
    order to compel the cork producers to address the TCA problems relating
    to natural cork, and to help the wine producers develop quality control
    procedures and good corking practices. It's a little off topic (not
    much on sparkling wine corks), but interesting for those who wish an
    understanding of natural wine cork.

    http://www.corkqc.com/index.html

    -Bruce

  6. #6
    Ronin Guest

    Default Re: Mushroom corks

    >
    > http://www.corkqc.com/index.html
    >
    > -Bruce


    Very interesting - Thanks for the link! And they finally found
    something to do in Forestville, eh? :-)

    I have noticed that all of the mid to premium Portugese wines have the
    nicest corks. First choice, I guess...


  7. #7
    Bruce Edwards Guest

    Default Re: Mushroom corks

    Ronin wrote:
    >>
    >> http://www.corkqc.com/index.html
    >>
    >> -Bruce

    >
    > Very interesting - Thanks for the link! And they finally found
    > something to do in Forestville, eh? :-)


    Cute little town. Wine being made there.

    >
    > I have noticed that all of the mid to premium Portugese wines have the
    > nicest corks. First choice, I guess...
    >

    I think it's an economic phenomenon. Finally the Portuguese wine
    producers are getting the respect, and achieving the quality, that may
    have eluded them for so long. In other words, they are making better
    wine, getting higher prices, an can afford the better quality packaging
    materials. Currency exchange has an effect, as well. Quality cork goes
    to the highest bidder, be you Portuguese, Italian, Ozzie, ......

    -Bruce

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