Notes from the Green Party MEP for East of England. Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Please buy wine with real corks!

A second issue that my brother has alerted me to is the use of plastic "corks" and screw top bottles for wine.

This is something we all need to be more aware of, and try to buy wine that has a real cork and when we go to a restaurant we should ask for wine that has a real cork. I haven't quite worked out how to discover which wines do have the right cork, but perhaps a good wine merchant will be able to tell you?

Now, what's all this about. Well here's a web site that explains it. Various parts of southern Portugal are major cork producing areas, and this involved traditional forestry methods that are crucial to the environment (but they'll only be maintained as long as the production of cork continues to be economically worth while). Cork oak trees help to maintain and hold the moisture in soils that would otherwise become desert very quickly, and they support a range of wild life including the Iberian Lynx which is an endangered large cat.

Portugal currently produces 30 million corks per day for the wine industry the world over. But every time you use a plastic cork, that's one less cork sold, and one step more in the direction of declining economic viability for the traditional way of life that maintains the delicate balance between agriculture, wild life and the general quality of all our lives.

More about corks and wine can be found here.