10.07.2014 Pod3 - Cork is still the natural choice in America


US consumers still traditional when it comes to wine closures

Just as the screw cap is gaining significant acceptance and even liking in the UK and Australian markets, the world’s largest market for wine seems to be pulling in a different direction. Despite growing usage of screw-cap on wines found in American liquor stores, US consumers still feel that high quality wine should be sealed with a natural cork. In addition, a third of US regular wine drinkers (around 30 million consumers) find closure as important or very important when they purchase the wine.

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However, there are signs that the closure debate is aligning more with the UK and Australian experience. There is now a sizeable percentage (39%) of US wine drinkers who are indifferent towards closure types. And 42% of US regular wine drinkers say they have bought wine with a screw-cap closure in the past 4 weeks – nearly 40 million US wine drinkers. For the moment US consumers who like buying wine with a screw cap are more likely to be women, keen on buying wine from a super store and more influenced by promotional offers.

Does this mean that screw-cap is only for cheap wines selling to price conscious consumers? Not quite. During our recent Premium Wine Drinkers study the US, we invited higher spending consumers to “dinner party” focus groups. During the conversation it transpired these consumers were recognising that more and more wines are available with screw cap closure, and once tried, they actually liked the closer. The message coming across was that screw cap has a clear practical benefit: ease of use, especially for at home and outdoor occasions.

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Screw cap seems to be winning the US market slowly…