11th July, 2014 by Lauren Eads
The popularity of screw caps is now level with that of cork in the UK, a recent survey has found, while in the US consumers remain loyal to traditional cork closures.
In presenting its Closure Trends in Australia, UK and US 2014 report, researchers from Wine Intelligence noted that while the three markets were closely linked, their approach to wine closure varies significantly.
In the UK screw caps and natural cork were favoured equally by consumers with 40% of consumers stating that they like buying wine with a screw cap, alongside an equal 40% who said they like buying wines with a cork.
In Australia, the preference for screw top wines jumped to 55%, compared to 38% for cork.
While in the US just 21% said they like buying screw cap wines compared to 64% who said they liked cork.
A spokesperson for Wine Intelligence said: “Winemakers, chemists and critics are involved in a seemingly endless debate about the merits of various types of wine closure. Does natural cork really help wine to “breathe”, and is the risk of spoilage still too high to justify? Do more perfect seals, created by synthetic stoppers and screw-caps, offer a better alternative, or do they somehow “suffocate” the wine and inhibit bottle ageing?”
However the report noted that for many consumers, the driving fore behind their preference was not scientific, but emotional and based on image and practicality.
It added: “While this scientific discussion continues, consumers have been drawing their own conclusions. Their opinions do not tend to be based on detailed technical analysis. Instead, their views are shaped by nebulous concepts like emotions, image, history and practicality. For some, the key question is whether they can actually access the wine in the bottle without recourse to a toolbox, or the help of a neighbour.”
The data was collected in April 2014, and in October 2013 for the US, via an online survey representative of regular wine drinkers in each country.