Cork advances in US and China

Two research studies into consumer closure preference in two of the world’s most dynamic wine markets, China and the US show that cork is the preferred wine stopper, according to Amorim the world leader in cork stopper products.

In the US 90% of the wines sold in the Top 50 restaurants last year were sealed by cork, according to the Wine & Spirits Annual survey*. This is an increase of 20% in 10 years. In the same comparison, screw-cap closed wine sales decreased by 39% and those with synthetic stoppers by 70%.

Amorim claims these results are reinforced at retail level by Nielsen Tracking Surveys data for the US Market. According to a CQC analysis of Nielsen's figures for the four weeks ended April 26, 2014, sales of premium wines sealed with cork continued to outpace wines sealed with artificial stoppers at all retail price points. The survey ranked the top 100 premium brands by gross revenue from domestic 75cl table wine sales during the previous 12 months. Premium brands were defined as those averaging over $6 per bottle during the same period.

Amorim says sales of the top 100 premium brands sealed with cork have increased by 36%, compared to 8% for wines with artificial closures since 2010.

It says it is a similar picture in China, where CTR Research have carried out extensive wine consumer research in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu to ascertain wine closure preferences.

A summary of the findings shows that 83% of Chinese wine consumers perceived cork as being associated with good quality wine, 84% prefer wines sealed with cork. Also 89% of the Chinese wine consumers is aware of cork as a wine closure.

Carlos de Jesus, Amorim’s director of communications said: “Combined, these two studies paint a very clear picture of the importance that cork has for winemakers selling, or looking to sell, in two of the world’s most exciting wine markets.

“If the US is the world’s largest wine market by volume and value, China is already considered the world’s largest market for red wine.

“Either way, these two markets will be instrumental in shaping the evolution of the wine trade in the foreseeable future. These figures make a very robust case for cork as good for wine ….and good for the business of wine,” said de Jesus.