However, in the ancient world cork was most prized for its sealing properties. The fact that the sealing of cork was almost perfect is evidenced by excavations. An intact amphora sealed with a cork from the first century BC was found in the last century in Ephesus; it had lain for more than 20 centuries and was still filled with wine. Also in the ruins of Pompeii, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, archaeologists dug up amphorae full of wine. These examples show the remarkable stability of the material, and this despite the impact of various factors: the micro-organisms present in the soil, seawater, etc.
Nowadays, the isolating and sealing properties of cork are to the highest degree tested in the wine industry, which uses more than 80% of world production and demands its most valuable varieties. The remaining 20% of the cork consuming market is in the sectors: construction, angling, sports, office and home use, floating water equipment, fishing, water transport (for marking and signalling water channels), water rescue, automotive, defence, aviation and gliding, production of musical instruments, footwear, furniture, etc.