Founded in 1898, we have witnessed many transformations in our company history. From being a producer of an unrivaled “standard” closure, we have evolved over the years into a niche supplier of exclusively high-quality natural one-piece corks that has found its place in a wide environment of alternative closures
Korkindustrie Trier was founded on August 15, 1898 in the city center of Trier. For those times, the location of the company was unusual, as the cork arrived by ship in Germany’s North Sea ports, and therefore most cork factories were located in the Bremen area. The reason for the establishment of a cork factory in Trier was that after the war of 1870, Mosel wine became as famous as Bordeaux. Renowned wineries sprang up along the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer rivers, bottling their wine as a mark of superior quality rather than using wooden barrels.
As early as 1911, Korkindustrie Trier moved to larger premises in the city center and, in 1914, established its own production facility in Llagostera, Spain. This enabled the company to secure a sufficient supply of raw material to meet the growing demand.
After the Second World War, with increasing prosperity, an enormous upswing in the wine and sparkling wine industry began. The factory premises in the city center of Trier became too small and production was moved to the Filscher Wäldchen, to the green meadow, an area of about three hectares. Korkindustrie Trier no longer punched its natural corks out of the bark itself, but concentrated on finishing them. As the only company outside the countries of origin for cork oaks, we began washing our corks ourselves, avoiding the chlorine washing then common in Portugal and Spain.
In cooperation with the laundry industry, Korkindustrie Trier developed a new washing machine, adapted to the gentle but thorough washing of 50,000 natural corks in one washing, spinning and drying process. This technology has proven itself and is still in use today, making it possible to offer different washes and also guarantee the uniformity of each wash regardless of the upstream supplier.
To check the sensory quality of corks analytically, and not only by subjective sniffing, we installed two gas chromatograph-mass spectrometers in our laboratory. We were then able to evaluate individual incoming cork batches using a random sample, and then divide them into different sensory classes. In addition, our state-of-the-art in-house analytics enabled detailed research into cork’s complex affinity for trichloroanisole (TCA).
In line with the development of more and more sustainable (natural) production, a new washing formula and a surface treatment have been developed in the company's own laboratory, using only products that have long been used in the food industry. This allowed us to introduce new type of cork, washed without bleaching and coated only with beeswax and vegetable oil. We named it OrganiQork in the uppermost sensory class and EcoQork in the lower.
We have continuously worked to optimize our in-house cork analysis since introducing it in 2001. An immense number of samples and extensive investigations have allowed us to identify correlations and improve the extraction of TCA. Our findings have resulted in an extraction process in which TCA is enriched so it can be analyzed more reliably—and without affecting the cork structure. In cooperation with a technical partner, we developed a new analytical instrument for this purpose. It considerably reduces analysis time and enables cork testing on a completely new scale.
The technical difficulties involved in developing a new analytical instrument have largely been overcome, and the prototype has been installed in our laboratory. The first few months showed that the development efforts were worthwhile. With “@ll tested” we can now offer a new cork quality where, in contrast to the previous random testing, all corks are tested.
For 125 years, we have wholeheartedly stood behind natural cork as the best closure for a bottle of wine. We have never succumbed to the temptation to follow any trends for marketing reasons, but have stayed focused on making natural cork as a closure both safer and more sustainable.
From our many years of experience, we know that the affinity of cork for trichloroanisole (TCA) is very complex and cannot be determined with absolute certainty. Honesty towards our customers therefore forbids us to give a guarantee that none of our natural corks might lead to a sensory impact on a bottle of wine—even with our new, very effective and sensitive method for analyzing trichloroanisole in cork. But we are closer to perfection than ever before, and will keep working until we reach it.
As you have seen, we are not just a seller of natural corks, but an expert who can advise you on all matters concerning bottling with natural corks. If technically feasible, we are not above fulfilling any order, no matter how small. We want to make sure that even in these times of many alternative closures, everyone who chooses natural cork as the closure for their particular batch of wine will get the desired quantity and quality of corks.