The Grapevine

Marketing Cork Closures, Knowing What’s Really in That Wine Bottle

December 1st, 2014

The cork vs. screwcap debate rages on and cork producers aren’t sitting idly by hoping things go their way. Also, a service hopes to help consumers “protect their love of wine and favorite fruit brandies or hard liquor” by allowing them to “verify product authenticity.” Hmm. [level-members]

Do You Really Know What’s in That Bottle You’re Drinking?
First, BottleCONTENT® is the service hoping to help consumers verify their favorite wines. I think they may be solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

Except in the most exalted corners of the wine and spirits world, authenticity is not an issue. Even then, it’s mostly in the auction markets that this issue rears its ugly head. Consumers are happy to trust that what’s in the bottle matches what’s on the label and, for the overwhelming majority, that’s a safe assumption.

The pitch, though, is really to producers:

Using our bottleCONTENT® labels on your product you can ensure consumers are getting the authentic product. You will differentiate yourself from the rest of the producers and show the consumers that you care…

I’m guessing we won’t hear a lot more from BottleCONTENT in the future, but you can read more here.

Cork Closures as Marketing Advantage
It seems we will be hearing more from the suppliers of wine corks, though. They are pushing cork as an “untapped marketing advantage” for wine makers. There are some big names and big-time producers involved, including Bogle Vineyards, Grgich Hills Estate,  and Rutherford Ranch Winery.

The campaign will include radio spots and online advertising and will run throughout this holiday season. Its premise is based on research showing that 93% of US wine consumers “associate natural cork with higher quality wines.”

That strikes me as an instance where the phrasing of the question unduly impacts the answers you get. Yes, cork is used nearly universally by producers of wines priced above $40. But that doesn’t mean that the $20 cork-closed bottle is going to be better than a similarly priced screw-cap wine. At not to me, though that does seem to be the argument the cork producers are hoping to make. Read more here.