Despite a move in recent years to replace cork closures for wine with alternatives such as synthetic cork or screw-caps, a study by AC Nielsen on behalf of the Cork Quality Council indicates that the premium domestic US wineries are increasing their use of cork closures, with brands using cork showing higher annual sales growth over those using alternatives.
According to the data released recently by the CQC, out of 100 top selling wine brands, the number of brands using cork closures rose to 72 during the past five months, registering an increase of 7.5%. These brands using cork as the closure also posted an average annual sales bump of 10.2 %, compared to annual growth of 3.7 % for alternative closures majority of which are screw-caps.
Cork comes from a certain variety of oak tree that is only found in the Mediterranean, especially Portugal.
The reason for sticking with cork has a lot to do with the psychological value of cork with the consumer. Some whiskies, such as Makers Mark, also use cork stoppers or the premium impression. Though with whiskies, which do not typically get stored on their sides after opening, cork dry-out can happen if the bottle doesn't get consumed fast enough.
A look at the survey indicates that the maximum use of alternative closures is in the $6-9 range- whereas 16 producers use cork, 15 are still using screwcaps (more than half of screw-cap users are in this category).
France's cork federation last summer went on the the offensive with a poster campaign that features wine and champagne bottles with outlandish alternative stoppers like a plastic duck and the slogan: "Always imitated, never equaled."
By David Kiley | Source :: www.luxist.com