01 Mar Consumer Survey Shows Cork remaining the Number One Choice
It was interesting and informative to see South African wine lovers reflecting the world-wide trend of choosing natural cork as the preferred closure for their bottle of wine. In the first reader survey done by www.winemag.co.za, one of the leading authorities on South African wine news, trends and opinions, 61% of readers stated natural cork as their closure of choice – that figure increasing to more than two thirds of respondents if technical cork stoppers are included.
Those who participated in the survey are regular wine drinkers, 82% of whom drink wine at least twice a week and portrayed an above-average knowledge on the subject.
Their dominating preference for natural cork shows that although alternative closures such as screwcap and plastic have approached the wine market for more than two decades – allowing today’s wine makers and consumers to be well-informed about which closure is superior and better-suited – the cork stopper is still deemed as the cultural, natural and best closure for wine.
We think that apart from the traditional association between cork and wine that has existed for centuries, the preference for cork among the modern consumer can be ascribed to various factors.
Natural cork allows wine to evolve better, adding value in qualitative terms as well as guaranteeing a premium, superior image. Time-and-time again it has been shown that no-one has invented anything better than the natural cork stopper with which to seal a good bottle of wine, allowing it to mature to its full potential.
Environmental concerns have also played a huge role in keeping cork ahead of the pack. Not only due to its more natural look and feel, but also because of cork being an environment-friendly product compared to alternatives.
Despite the €280 million invested by Amorim since 2001 in the development of manufacturing processes aiming at quality improvements, we continue raising the bar to ensure the demands of the growing market are met in terms of excellence and volume. This includes research into increasing the productivity of the cork forests of Portugal and other southern Mediterranean countries as well as state-of-the art scientific processes in the production plants to ensure excellence in the final product.
Closures remain a popular topic for debate among wine industry pundits world-wide. But at the end of the day it is the preference of the consumer and the wine maker that should drive the narrative. And as this recent survey has shown, facts speak louder than words in underscoring cork as the leading choice by far.
· Joaquim Sá, Managing Director: Amorim SA