Purchase Intent Skews Toward Cork Closures – Wine Product Quality Perception is Equal
The subject of closure alternatives to cork still ignites passionate debate in wine industry circles. For good reason. A number of factors come up, including cost vs. benefit, effect on product quality, brand perception, the environment and critically, impact on sales.
The reality is that we have seen numerous brands launch screw cap wines in recent years, many to much success.
The impact of alternative closures on sparkling wine, however, remains somewhat unclear. A Champagne without the traditional cork? Never, traditionalists say.
To answer the question, at least partly, we looked at the bottlecap option on a sparkling wine and put it to consumers at a Quini sensory wine tasting.
A most interesting finding was on quality perception. Shown images of the same wine brand, side by side with the different closures, a traditional cork and a bottlecap like those we see on Coca-Cola bottles, consumers said the wine with the bottlecap was of equal quality (41%) or of superior quality (4%).
The critical question was around how the two closure alternatives impact purchase decisions. So we asked, “when buying sparkling wine, are you more likely to select a product that has a cork type cap as opposed to one that features a pop-like type cap?”
The bottom line was that the vast majority of consumers surveyed would select a bottle with a cork closure as opposed to a bottlecap type closure. Even tough wine quality perception was equal, with a slight favour towards a bottlecap closure.
Specifically, 68 percent of those surveyed said they would select a wine with a cork closure. 22 percent prefer a bottlecap and 11 percent skipped the questions.
Nearly 50 frequent wine drinkers attended this recent tasting, held in Vancouver, BC. 22 percent male to 78 percent male consumers participated in the survey. GenX and Millennial consumers, critical to the wine industry’s forward health, made up the entirety of the group. Millennials (tasters 26-41 years old) made up 62 percent of the group and the rest were from the GenX generation (tasters 42-57 years of age).
The survey generated additional insight on sparkling wine purchase frequency and dollar per bottle investment.
57 percent of the audience said they typically spend between $11 and $25 on a bottle of sparkling wine, and 32 percent spend $26 to $50. Only 8 percent spend between $51 nd $75 per bottle.
The majority said they buy sparkling every few months. The next group buys this type of wine once a year and the third group in line buys sparkling around once a month.
With reasonable confidence, the data is indicative of consumer perception and likely action at the point of purchase, for sparkling wine products with a traditional cork seal versus a bottlecap. With that, each producer of sparkling wine may take different actions, depending on how the math works for their business. The cost of cork closure for some wineries, for example, may be the same as a bottlecap seal. For others that cost may be different.
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