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Alternative wine closures a ‘good fit’ with high end wine, study finds

A study by wine closures company Vinventions and the University of Louvain has proved the popular misconception that alternative closures are not associated with high-end luxury wines, to be untrue.

The study, conducted at Mind Insights, a scientific marketing organization within the University of Louvain in Belgium, was designed to better understand consumer perception of its closures and gauge whether plant-based closures in high-end wine, specifically Vinvention’s bio-based Normacorc Reserva closure, which is partly made from renewable plant-based materials, is seen as inferior to cork.

Around 180 participants took part in the research, with their unconscious responses to three closure types – an entry-level synthetic closure (costing around 50 euros per 1000 units), a Nomacorc Reserva closure (costing around 230 euros per 1000 units) and premium natural cork costing three times as much – being stripped of limitations and bias and then analysed.

“While there is much propaganda in the wine market about the belief that alternative closures are associated with lower-quality wines, we wanted to see evidence of such widely spread assumptions through an unbiased research method,” Dr. Stephane Vidal, vice president of brand management and enology at Vinventions said. “We partnered with Mind Insights because of their ability to use scientific research methods that eliminate limitations and biases from traditional consumer research.”

This method avoided explicitly asking the participants to express their beliefs, or ‘self-report’, believing it distorts consumers’ responses.

Romain Thomas, wine marketing solutions brand manager at Vinventions said the results showed that widespread assumptions about consumers’ perceptions could be questioned when tested with scientific research methods.

“The tendency to answer questions in a manner that respondents believe is expected or will be viewed favourably misleads results,” he noted.

The closure was ranked 87 on a scale of 0 to 100 of premium/luxury awareness, the study found, proving there was little or no associations between the Nomacorc PlantCorc closures and low-quality wines.

Vinventions was created in 2015 and is now the second largest wine closure supplier in the world, encompassing  Vinventions’ Complete Wine Closure Solutions, which includes Nomacorc (PlantCorcs), Syntek (synthetics), Ohlinger (natural corks), Vintop and Alplast (screwcaps), oenological tools and services company Wine Quality Solutions, marketing and consumer insight Wine Marketing Solutions.

Speaking to db last week, the company’s president & CEO Dr. Heino Freudenberg said sustainability in the industry was a “competitive necessity” as it eyed up the “huge” mass-market potential of its new SÜBR M50, the first glue-free plant-based closure to hit the market.

“It’s not a ‘hippy, ‘I-created-my-jumper-myself’ thing, we are really serious,” he said.

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