Ferdinand, A Wise Bull…

Do you remember, The Story of Ferdinand?

Ferdinand is a little bull that wants to sit under a cork tree, and smell the flowers, all day long. Ferdinand is not like other bulls. He’s a pacifist and a non-conformer. The book is actually super cute and has some good messages in it.

When I was small, and hearing the story, I had no idea what a cork tree was. Now, I’m  living in Spain and find myself surrounded by cork forests. I also find myself drinking a bit of wine….hmmm…okay….maybe a fair bit of wine. And we all know the best wine stoppers are made of  —- CORK!

So, I did a little digging and found some interesting (little known) facts about my new favorite (very cool) tree and what it produces.

Cork tree in my garden. I can almost picture Ferdinand.


  • Is the best – natural – wine preservation system in the world.
  • It is light, permeable, flexible, expandable and pretty rot resistant.
  • The Mediterranean climate is ideal for cork trees, which are actually a type of oak. Portugal and Spain make up 80% of the world’s production. France, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia make up the other 20%.
  • There is actually not a shortage as many people believe. This is a myth propagated to push for cheaper plastic and/or synthetic alternatives. Cool comes at a price.


It is 100% sustainable. The trees are harvested about once a decade after they reach maturity (25-30 years), and only from May till August. Oh, and it’s done by hand. The trees typically live 200-300 years and will grow to roughly 65 Ft. high and 4 Ft. in diameter.


So next time you reach for your favorite bottle of vino, and you hear that delicious pop. You know the one….when the cork escapes the bottle. Hmmm, makes you smile a little just thinking about it, right?

Be sure to feel good about your non-plastic screw top choice and the traditional (hundreds of years old) method you are helping to preserve.

Salud to Ferdinand, cork trees, and a good glass of wine.

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