Natural cork remains the overwhelming choice for U.S. wine drinkers because it conveys higher quality than alternative closures, according to a recent survey by Tragon Corp.(

According to the survey, 94% of respondents said they would be more likely to purchase wine with natural cork.  A nearly equal number, 93%, said that natural cork conveys high or very high quality. 

"These results are remarkable because we rarely find such overwhelming agreement among consumers," says Rebecca Bleibaum, Tragon's VP, sensory and consumer insights.  "We consider 70% to be a powerful plurality, but 94% positive purchase interest is almost unheard of."

Other key findings included:
  • Only 45% of respondents said they would consider purchasing wine with a screw-cap; 72% said they would consider wines with a synthetic closure.

  • For gifts, dinner parties and special occasions, as many as 90% of respondents said they would prefer wines sealed with cork; 60% of respondents said wines with synthetic closures were inappropriate for gifts; and 78% indicated they would not consider giving screw-capped wines as gifts.

  • Compared to similar Tragon studies conducted in 2004 and 2007, consumer opinion changed the most for screw-caps, with the closures having reached their peak of popularity in 2007. Compared to four years ago, the closure is now seen as less appropriate for all occasions.

  • Half of respondents thought that wines with a screw-cap were of low quality.  Only 11 % indicated that screw-caps conveyed high quality.

  • Synthetic closures have gained acceptance among consumers for everyday use, although respondents showed little preference for one closure over another for this category of use. 
The web-based survey was taken by 347 consumers throughout the San Francisco and Chicago metropolitan areas in October 2011.  The majority of survey participants have been enjoying wine for a minimum of a decade and consume it at least once a week. About half of the participants spend $9 to $15 on a bottle of wine but seldom spend more than $25.  The survey was commissioned by the Cork Quality Council and can be viewed