(announced March 20 by the Natural Cork Quality Council, Napa Calif.)
outside the town of Montijo in the Alentejo region of Portugal, holds the honor. Named for the countless songbirds that occupy its dense canopy, The Whistler Tree is 212 years old.
Its normal productive -- 2,640 lbs. of raw cork - supplies the material for 100,000 natural wine corks from a single harvest. Average production from a single tree is 4,000 cork stoppers.
The tree has produced a steady flow of top quality cork every nine years since 1820. Its lifetime production spans twenty individual harvests and is estimated at 882,000 corks -- good for 73,500 cases of wine, about enough for a year's production at a mid-sized California winery.
Last harvested in 1992, the tree is thriving and will be harvested again in the year 2000. With good weather, it is forseeable that The Whistler Tree will achieve 1,000,000 cork stoppers on its 21st harvest.