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Originally published June 7 2008

Choosing Natural Cork Wine Bottles Is an Environmentally Friendly Choice

by Deanna Dean

(NaturalNews) The fear is real and the worries valid when we hear that 2 million tons of oil derived plastic bottles were dumped this year in landfills. As an aside, add to that environmental nugget the fact that we drank water and other liquids from those very same bottles which had possibly leached deadly, toxic chemicals into our beverage. No wonder health and environmentally savvy folks are choosing metal water bottles like those from Sigg Switzerland and Klean Kanteen.

How does cork fit into this picture? It should be no surprise that the more we learn about the health benefits of resveratrol the more demand for wine. As this demand grows so does the demand for plastic; because by the year 2015, the future wine market will have replaced almost all cork stoppers in wine bottles with plastic screw caps, which will continue to add to our already over-burdened landfills. Also because of this switch from cork to plastic, the future of ancient cork-oak forests of the Mediterranean that have supplied almost all wine stoppers for centuries, is severely threatened.

The largest and most profitable use of harvested cork worldwide is for wine stoppers. Cork is a renewable material made from the fiber stripped from cork trees that can then regrow. Most of these forests that grow cork-oaks are privately owned putting them at a greater risk for neglect or sale.

Though the majority of wine bottles still contain natural cork stoppers, plastic is the new kid on the block, and more and more winemakers around the world are switching to it because of its convenience and to avoid cork mold which can taint the wine. Understandably, the environmentalists and cork producers are worried. If the demand for cork goes down, so will these ancient forests. If the trend continues toward plastic screw caps, 3/4 of cork-oak forests could be lost within the decade.

Cork trees can live for hundreds of years and harvesting cork is an age-old practice that has depended on the wine industry to keep it alive. Close to Atlantic and Mediterranean mineral deposits, cork oaks have perfect conditions in Portugal and Spain to flourish. These vibrant, great oaks help protect the soil from drying out and provide shelter for a wide array of biodiversity.

The survival of exotic wildlife including the Iberian Lynx, Barbary Deer and the Egyptian Mongoose along with rare birds such as the Imperial Iberian Eagle and the Black Stork depend upon the continuation of these cork-oak forests.

"Cork-oak forests rank among the top biodiversity hot spots in the Mediterranean and in Europe. They are the backbone of an entire economy," says Nora Berrahmouni, coordinator of World Wildlife Federation's (WWF) Cork Oak Landscapes program.

When you select your next bottle of wine choose the one with a cork stopper and know that your choice is good for the environment and helps save another threatened forest.

In Good Health,

Deamma Deam


USAToday online

About the author

Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education.
Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist.
Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.

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