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Consumer Trends: Consumers Think Wines Sealed with Cork Are Higher Quality

According to a recent study on wine closures, 93 percent of American wine consumers associate natural cork with higher quality wines, while only 11 percent of U.S. wine consumers believe wines sealed with a screw cap to be of high quality.

Mnet 134336 Cork Lead
(Photo: PRNewswire)

NAPA, Calif. (PRNewswire) — According to a recent market research study on wine closures conducted by Tragon Corporation, 93 percent of U.S. wine consumers associate natural cork with higher quality wines, while only 11 percent of U.S. wine consumers believe wines sealed with a screw cap to be of high quality. Similar results were found in both Germany and Australia. In Germany, 93 percent of wine drinkers and 85 percent in Australia associate natural cork with higher quality wines. Participants in both the U.S. and Germany went even a step further to indicate that natural cork is a positive influence on their purchase decisions whereas screw caps and synthetic closures can deter a purchase.
Cork Logo.

The 2013 web-based survey was administered to 1,550 consumers throughout the U.S., Australia and Germany. Participants included red and white wine drinkers, 80 percent of which consume wine at least once a week. The survey was comprised of 35 percent males and 65 percent females, who are the primary shoppers for their households and range in age from 25-65. The independent study was commissioned by Tragon with research partners SAM in Germany and AWRI in Australia. View the full report here.

Commenting on the results, Rebecca Bleibaum, Tragon's VP, Sensory and Consumer Insights, stated, "Consumers in all markets tested – U.S., Australia, and Germany -- perceive wines with a natural cork closure to be of significantly higher quality than those with a screw cap."

Additional findings from the study include:

  • Wines with a cork stopper are perceived as being appropriate for all occasions, from an informal dinner at home to dining out for a special occasion.
  • Wines sealed with screw caps, on the other hand, especially in the U.S., are generally viewed as being of lower or moderate quality, and are viewed as less appropriate for a special occasion or dinner at a restaurant.
  • 61 percent of the U.S respondents indicated that given the choice they would prefer to purchase wine with natural cork stoppers, while only three percent said they prefer to purchase wine with a screw cap.
  • In Germany, 72 percent of the respondents indicated that screw caps convey moderate to low quality.

"The data shown for the U.S., Australia and German markets has consistent, and perhaps even unexpected, positive news for wineries that feature natural cork stoppers," commented Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Cork Quality Council. "Since consumers overwhelmingly associate cork with high quality wines, having a cork stopper instead of a screw cap can make a critical difference when it comes to selling to the all-crucial, premium segment of the market that successful wineries around the world are targeting. It certainly makes sense for these wineries to promote their use of cork."

About Tragon
With its headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif., Tragon Corporation is a leader in sensory evaluation and market research the world over. The company's team of scientists, technologists, and marketing specialists has pioneered many of the sensory methodologies considered industry standard today. Tragon is utilized for product research by seven out of 10 product manufactures around the world.

About Cork
Natural cork has been the preferred wine closure for centuries. It offers the ideal closure for the proper aging of wine and is one of the world's most sustainable products. Biodegradable and recyclable, its use provides an economic incentive to preserve vast cork oak forests in the Mediterranean Basin that trap greenhouse gases, prevent desertification and provide habitat for hundreds of plant and animal species.

About 100% Cork
100% Cork is a campaign to educate U.S. wine consumers, retailers and wineries about the benefits of choosing wine with natural cork closures because of cork's environmental, technical and societal advantages. More information can be found at and