Screwcaps: More in use, and more accepted than ever

Two recent studies show that consumers and wineries really don't mind screwcaps — actually like them, believe it or not — despite the best efforts of the cork business to convince us otherwise. More, after the jump:

The first report comes from an Australian industry survey, which found that 93 percent of Aussie wineries use screwcaps. Which is an amazing number, even if the Aussies have always pioneered (and accepted) different packaging; wine in boxes has been common for decades. In other words, there are only a handful of screwcap holdouts in one of the leading wine producers in the world. The study also found that 74 percent of the wineries that use screwcaps bottle more than three-quarters of their wine with screwcaps — again, an amazing number.

In Britain, meanwhile, 85 percent of the regular wine-drinking population now accepts screwcaps ? more than twice as many people who felt that way in 2003. That's from a study conducted by the research company Wine Intelligence for its 2011 Closures Report, which tracked the use of corks, screwcaps, and artificials around the world. Richard Halstead, who wrote the report, says the changes are fundamental. "From a market that was actively sceptical ? in some cases hostile ? towards screwcaps, we now have a situation where they are the norm rather than the exception."

There are some fascinating numbers in the report, which surveyed people who drink wine at least once a month. My favorite? That those who prefer corks are apparently dying off, given that women in their 30s and 40s, as well as younger consumers who just started drinking wine, are driving screwcap acceptance.

Wine Intelligence found similar, if not quite as impressive, results in the U.S., and especially in the age-cork relationship. The percentage of U.S. wine drinkers who accept screwcaps rose to 70 percent, the most ever, and up from 59 percent in 2008. Women and younger consumers are most likely to find buying wine with screwcaps acceptable, while men and older consumers are least likely to do so. Says Halstead: "The screwcap still has some way to go to win over the mainstream wine drinkers in America, but it looks like the process is starting. ?

The U.S. and China are the most screwcap resistant markets in the world, according to the Australian report. Which isn't surprising, given how fuddy-duddy so many wine consumers are in each country.

The photo is from the International Screwcap Initiative, using a Creative Commons license

More about screwcaps:
? More natural cork foolishness
? Why I don't like corks — still
? More about screwcaps: Or, duck, here come the cork people


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