A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
The new Wine Intelligence report said that the cork-centric view of the US market is gradually changing, as alternative closures, "led by screw-caps", make inroads into certain categories of wine.
The Wine Intelligence USA closure report revealed that over the past 5 years: 22% of regular wine drinkers in America (those drinking wine at least once a month) are now happy to buy their wine with a twist top, making levels of consumer affinity comparable to synthetic cork for the first time – 24% say they like buying synthetic cork. However, natural cork holds on to its top status among consumers with 66% being fans of the traditional closure.
While the majority of American regular wine drinkers do not reject synthetic cork and screw-cap wines outright, they are still more likely to harbour either indifferent or negative attitudes towards these two alternative closures and the wines that are associated with them, according to the research. Based on measures such as price perceptions and occasion suitability, this report finds that for consumers, natural cork remains the benchmark of a higher value product; screw-cap is still seen as lower value; and synthetic hovers somewhere in the middle.
Wine Intelligence’s chief operating officer, Richard Halstead, said: “In terms of attitudes towards closures, America stands apart from other high-value developed wine markets with its traditional attitudes. This is most likely as a result of the small proportion of adults who drink wine compared with other countries and a less evident push from producers and big retailers… Our tracking data shows screw-cap making steady upward progress in consumer perceptions, from a low base. We don’t rule out a “screw-cap revolution”; however a more likely outcome will be the arrival of screw-cap as a mainstream force in around 5-10 years’ time.”
The USA Closures Report is published by Wine Intelligence and available from the Wine Intelligence Reports Shop, priced at USD 800, EUR 640, AUD 800, GBP 500 or 1 Report Credit.