The Grapevine

Reports of Wine Cork’s Death Have Been Greatly Overstated

October 17th, 2017

Should you stock more or fewer wines with non-cork closures? And what kind of closures should they be? [level-members]

In the US, consumers still prefer cork by a wide margin. (In marked contrast to the situation in the UK.)

But while screw-caps are gaining favor, synthetic cork seems to be on the downswing. What does that mean for your shop? 

You might start by asking your customers what they think, either informally in person or through a poll on social media. (Don’t bother setting up a separate poll and emailing them the link – without a large audience, the typical response rate is going to yield too small a pool to be reliable.)

Then you might look at the overall trends and find the sweet spot for your particular clientele. 

Or you can make it a point of your marketing – you believe strongly in the romance of cork, or the near infallibility of screw-tops or the environmental friendliness of … you get the picture. 

There’s also the economic side of the question – do your customers bring back enough cork-tainted bottles to create a hardship – or do they not bother and simply shop elsewhere? 

Whatever the answers to these questions, it’s important to remember that the closure question is still very much alive – despite Robert Parker’s prediction – and very much unlikely to go away any time soon.