I bet you never gave a second thought about how these babies are made once you pop them out of the bottle, and you get a sip of that sweet, sweet vino.
But like all the little things that people tend to overlook, the story on how each cork piece came to be is a fascinating process once you get a wind of it.
It all starts on the forests of Portugal and Spain where Cork oaks grow. Once a tree is about 25 years old, it is stripped of its bark tissue, and would be stripped again every 9 years. This act of stripping, when done correctly, does not harm the living tissue of the tree, and curious enough, the more times the tree is stripped, the better quality cork it produces.
After they have been stored for a while, the cork planks are sent for processing, where they are boiled so that they will soften and flatten. This way the planks will be easier to sort and cut.
The corks are sorted by grade and quality: the top-grade corks eventually become bottle stoppers, the others become technical or agglomerated corks, which are made out of cork granules that are glued together.
You can read more about the cork making process here.