Cork Association survey finds buyers prefer natural closure

A survey commissioned by the Portuguese Cork Association has found that wine drinkers prefer real cork in their bottles.

The study was carried out by research company Moulton Hall and polled over 500 wine drinkers in the UK, America and Australia.

It found that the type of closure used in a wine bottle influenced the buying decision, with 26% of respondents claiming it was a ‘very important’ factor.

Seventy-five percent of respondents expressed a preference for real cork. In the US, that number rose to 80%. Six out of ten drinkers associate plastic stoppers with ‘cheapness.’

The most important factors influencing the decision to buy a bottle of wine are previous experience, the style of wine, and friends’ recommendations. Fourth is ‘style of closure’ – seen as more important than origin, price, special offers, label information, brand name or advertising.

Over half of respondents want information on the type of stopper available when they buy the wine.

On the issue of quality, only a fraction – 9% – believed that cork might ‘allow spoil’, and 21% attributed bad wine to problems with the cork.

Sarah Hately of the Wine Institute of New Zealand said, ‘The issue is what people are used to. Screw caps and sythetic closures are relatively new.’

New Zealand journalist Bob Campbell MW, a spokesman for the screwcap initiative in New Zealand, keeps a stockpile of all major wine styles under both cork and screwcap closures, which he is constantly reviewing.

He said, ‘Many premium New Zealand wines in a variety of styles are now being packaged under both cork and screwcap closures. The future development of these wines will settle any debate one way or the other.’

Written by Decanter staff21 March 2002