Cork is #1, but synthetic becoming acceptable, say American wine drinkers

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Results of a new survey of American consumer wine buying preferences conducted by Wine Intelligence reveal some 52% of consumers reject screw-cap, while 11% feel positive about this type of closure. In the UK research, six in ten consumers rejected screw-cap, while only 7% said they liked it.

American wine consumers believe wine bottles should still be sealed with a natural cork, despite the claimed technical benefits of screw-caps and synthetic corks, according to a new survey published today. However they appear more willing to consider alternative closures than consumers in the UK.

The findings come from a new survey of American consumer wine buying preferences conducted by Wine Intelligence, the international wine industry research consultancy. The survey, the first major piece of independent research into American consumer attitudes to wine bottle closures, was conducted with 1,084 on-line respondents across America in early May 2004 using the SSI SurveySpot® online panel.

The pro-cork consumer attitude tallies with responses of UK consumers in a similar piece of research conducted last year. Over two-thirds of US respondents feel positive about buying wine with a cork in it, while only 1% say they don't like buying wine with corks.

Some 52% of consumers rejected screw-cap, while 11% said they were positive about this type of closure. In the UK research, six in ten consumers rejected screw-cap, while only 7% said they liked it.

American consumers appear much more willing to accept synthetic closures than their British counterparts. One in four US respondents say they are positive about synthetic, while only 8% reject it. The figures for the UK study were 17% for and 12% against. The majority of responses in both cases were neutral - they were neither for or against synthetic closures.

It also appears that synthetic closures are gaining ground quickly in terms of consumer acceptability. Over four in ten consumers have changed their view of synthetic for the better. Screw-cap is also gaining acceptance: 23% of respondents say their view of this closure has improved of late, mainly because they had heard that it offered better sealing properties than natural cork.

Commenting on the survey, Richard Halstead, Managing Director of Wine Intelligence, said: "This survey shows that natural cork still has a strong hold over the US consumer, though synthetics are clearly making big strides in terms of acceptability."

'It is interesting to note that without the strong push for screw-cap that has occurred in the UK in the last year, US consumers are still more open to alternative closures than their British counterparts.'

About the report

Closures: The US Consumer View is published on June 30, 2004, price £375, Euro 580 or US$690. The report contains full findings from the largest independent survey of US consumer attitudes to closures yet undertaken. Consumer attitudes are analysed by demographics, behaviour and attitude to produce preferences by age, gender, socio-economic group, consumption patterns and involvement with wine. Reports can be ordered online at and come in Adobe Acrobat® pdf format.

About Wine Intelligence

Wine Intelligence is a research-led marketing consultancy serving the global wine industry. It conducts client-specific research projects to help companies gain greater insights into consumer and supply chain issues. The company also publishes its own research on important industry topics and runs a press analysis service.

For more information visit

Charted data and illustrations are available on request.

For more information, please call:

Richard Halstead, Managing Director, Wine Intelligence

+44 208 785 5512
+44 7768 666 759

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