Enviro-whiners piss and moan about ending forestry to SAVE! a mouse-eating spotted owl while they themselves live in tax-exempt donation-paid wood frame houses. They happily ruined spray deodorants given armpit stink is 100% natural Enviro-whiner. In the meanwhile 8500 square miles of trees are being raped, mutilated, and literally torn to pieces. Some of those trees have been so tortured every decade for almost two centuries. This is wholly commendable because Enviro-whiners drink only the finest expense account-reimbursed wines stoppered with first quality natural cork corks from artificial monoculture stands of Quercus suber cork oak trees. You cannot cut bark without stepping on acorns.
Natural cork is 35-60% suberin, a domained polyaromatic (hydroxycinnamic acids and derivatives such as feruloyltyramine) polyaliphatic (18-hydroxyoctadec-9-enoic acid and octadec-9-ene-1,18-dioic acid) randomly crosslinked block co-polymer. Suberin deposits in roots' casparian strip to prevent water and nutrients from entering the stele via the apoplast. You do not want to know what it does in bark.
Nomacorc plans to sell three billion extruded synthetic wine corks/year by 2010. Not a single tree will be harmed. No wine taint is possible from natural fungi (2,4,6-trichloroanisole) or natural fungi feeding on mandated fire retardants in wood-filled aging cellars (2,4,6-tribromoanisole). Alas, a felicitous concatenation of medical grade low density polyethylene (LDPE) and thermoplastic elastomer will not recycle. Synthetic corks are Enviro-terrorism! Cork corks do not recycle either - cork being pretty much resistant to everything naturally wet (inside) and dusty (outside) so the wine stays safely bottled - but they are grandfathered.
Belgian company Vinova injection molds even better synthetic corks with sealed tapered ends and lowered gas permeabilities. Enviro-whiners had a choice. Be outraged in California's Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties or snivel in Belgium. They giddily packed their haute couture (defined by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris) Christian Lacroix rucksacks for the Wine Country.
Who pours love offerings into those Birkenstock-clad Luddite morons? Spain and Portugal together sell some 11 billion traditional wine corks/year. Toss in another 780 million from Italy and that is 90% of a whole lot of cork corks annually. Locals do not look kindly upon consistently superior less expensive alternatives abundantly created by engineers with computers instead of peasants with knives. Wine corks are 15 wt-% of cork usage but 66% of cork revenues, employing 30,000 people. $1.3 billion/year in wine cork revenues growing 7%/year being disappeared by plastic may prejudice local opinions.
It's not the way Dom Pierre Perignon did it in Hautevilliers Abbey as the 17th century ran out. Dom was into traditional oiled hemp fiber stoppers for wine bottles. War on Drugs aside, champagne bottles are certified to 200 psi internal pressure. Pop went the hemp! Thermoplastic elastomers were truant from the Bible. LDPE required a yet unborn lab technician's negligence. Long French noses twitched as Spanish cork saved the day. (Zieglar and Natta shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for olefin polymerization catalysts. One imagines their lab tech had long since been discharged for cause/dirty autoclave.)
The standard #8 wine cork is 22 mm diameter by 38 or 44 mm long and fitted into an 18.5 mm internal diameter neck. Radial compression plus surface compliance create the seal. A winery using natural cork may lose 10% of its production to wine taint and leakage. Synthetic corks give 1-3% losses. Damned engineers are always changing things!
Iberian Peninsula peasants are again decrying the Industrial Revolution and loss of cottage industry. Three billion Nomacorcs sum to 19,000 metric tonnes of plastic. Plastic comes from petroleum. Pull a synthetic cork, support Muslim terrorism. Simple as that.
Every giant molecule of thermoplastic elastomer contains exactly one atom of silicon at its exact center. Elemental silicon comes from sand. You know what people do on a beach! They sweat sunblock and hawk lugies into the sand, and worse. Do you want your wine to taste of beach whistles and Coney Island whitefish? Of course not! You want your wine stoppered with nice clean tree bark aseptically gathered and processed in mud huts by artisan drunken louts whose jaws retain a tooth or three.
It does not stop with Nomacorc and Vinova! Almost everybody with a couple of lab monkeys and an injection molder is getting into the synthetic cork act: Supremecorq and Supremecorq X2 (only your telepath boss will know for sure), Auscork, NuKork, CorkTek, Aegis, Integra, Tage and, perhaps as a sop thrown to Enviro- whiners, ECORC. One anticipates NASA assembling an intensively reimbursed study group to address protocols for Wine in Space.
Four parishes in northern Louisiana host the only plantings of Quercus suber in the continental US. Adjacent Texas pumps petroleum. There will be lynchings and payoffs. Quercus suber genus and species may look straight, but the Linnean family and order are Fagaceae and Fagales respectively. Bunging fagales simply screams for Gay Lib going higgledy-piggledy.
All of you... put a cork in it.
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