Until the middle of the last century, São Brás de Alportel was the cork capital of Portugal and, by extension, the entire world. About 54% of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal. High-quality cork requires a clean environment and clean air. São Brás de Alportel and its environment are well known for these traits. Even today, the old merchant houses in the town stand testament to the impact of this economic activity. The cork route (Rota da Cortiça) is the perfect way to learn more about the noble cork oak (sobreiro in Portuguese), the art of debarking and the fascinating features of this 100% natural raw material that is so much more than just a stopper in a wine bottle. It is no coincidence that the cork oak is protected in Portugal. Along the route, you can visit Nova Cortiça, a cork processing plant whose cork ultimately ends up in the champagne bottles of the large houses in France.
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