In this village, a muscled mules graze peacefully against the cork drying factory. Leon has transferred its management to his sons Adolfo and Herminia. Corks Espadán is called and is the main family business that serves a county cork stoppers using the saw, an area that also gives an excellent olive oil. There are more companies based, even multinationals, but not so specialized.
The slow growth of cork favors the high quality of your skin
Their clients are numerous wineries appellations of origin in Spain and Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Toro, Valencia or Requena-Utiel. Tapona bottles whose unit can cost 900 euros (as the great reservoir of Rioja Contador). Its raw material is extracted from trees that populate the 4,000 acres of property and other proprietary cork of the region. "98% of the mountain is privately owned," said fellow forester, Adolfo Miravet surera fourth generation family (the Valencian suro, cork). "The cork is carried out mainly in July and August, when the tree does not suffer. We produce about five million caps per year, although last year we did 10 million, "he says.
Spain is the second world producer of cork, after Portugal. Extremadura, Andalusia, Catalonia, Castellón and to a lesser extent, are the main areas where the activity is linked to the existence of cork. However, it has extended the import of raw material from North Africa for years. The use of screw caps and plastic for table wine grower, has spread to the detriment of the cork, twinned with the reserves and livestock. The collapse in demand for construction Cork also has an impact on the industry.
Spain is the second
cork producer in the world, after Portugal
The company's Miravet in 2007 made the leap bulk supplier to integrated producer of cork. "As with the orange, the margins were very small," says Adolfo.
The skin becomes dry cork until November. Then boiled with water and held several months healing. Again boil and allowed to cure other period. Next, is to remain in a fungus fermentation characteristic of the mountain, which leaves no taste, the same that is used to make cheese Almedíjar appreciated. So corks plates pass machines that cut and drilled, before classifying the caps according to their quality. "Two classifications are made by hand and three, electronically," says Adolfo, pointing to the screen of the machine that scrutinizes photography and plug lines, its pores or lenticels, where the wine breathes. "The cork of Espadán grow slowly and need less pores to grow. They have very good lungs, with few lenticels. So given this quality, "he adds. You only need to apply wax to remove the cap easily and enjoy the scents of the wine cork preserved.
Sustainable exploitation and park uncleaned The cork is removed from the sustainable exploitation of the forest and mountains. Like other economic activities that respect the environment, helps maintain the natural park of the Sierra de Espadán. The bark of the cork oak is renewed and to access them walking forest trails, paths that normally run through ravines, accompanied by mules loaded down after the cork. Miravet Leon, Patriarch of Espadán Corks, stresses the importance of cleaning the mountain. And claims that in recent years European funds fail or the Government to remove the natural park branches, fallen trees, brush and scrub running like wildfire in case of fire. "The saw is very dangerous. We saw last summer that there were large fires. You have to clean the mountain. And we, the owners of the farms, we can not do it alone. In addition, there are many people doing walking, but not familiar with the mountain, and a fire could be fatal. Rural tourism is increasingly important. 20% of the GDP of this region, while forestry is 0.06% of GDP, "says Leon.
It is a problem inherent in the parks. For maintenance activities are needed to support sustainable and promote them. And involvement of all economic, political and social. Landscape conservation of nature and biodiversity is priced. Of the parks benefit everyone from the amateur to the mountain, to the urbanite who breathes the city pollution and green lungs needs, through bottlers that obtain revenues from forests that filter water.