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March 20, 2006

Nine out of ten customers think non-cork closures cheapen wine survey says

NAPA, Calif. – Consumers still love cork according to the results of s recent survey of the United States wine trade. Nine out of ten consumers – a stunning 94% – think that non-cork closures sometimes or often cheapen a bottle of wine according to those questioned in the study.

 Cork closures are still popular too with those in the trade who work directly serving wine to customers. Of those questioned who worked in a restaurant or other wine serving setting, the majority (71%) still preferred to open wine bottles with cork closures above screwcaps (26%) and synthetic closures (3%.) They felt their customers were not well informed about the issue of wine closures, with 48% of them feeling customers had very little information, 35% with some information and 9% with no information about which closures protect wine best.

The survey was carried out by Napa-based Balzac Communications on behalf of the Portuguese cork association (APCOR) as part of the International Campaign for Cork.
During the week of December 12 to 18, 2005, Balzac Communications and Marketing sent out a survey on wine bottle closures to members of the US wine trade to determine their opinions of cork closures. Survey participants included members of the US Court of Master Sommeliers, restaurateurs, retailers, wine buyers at hotels nationwide and member of the wine media.

There were 327 responses to the 20 question-survey. According to respondents the bulk of consumers (69%) preferred cork as a wine closure because of its tradition. Cork performance was a factor for (11%) of consumers according to the wine trade, as well as sustainability (1%.) A further 19% felt consumers liked cork for all these reasons.

Half of those questioned felt the wine and cork industry was making progress in some ways toward solving the issue of off-odors associated with TCA. Of those in a direct wines sales setting in restaurants, around 41% of those surveyed said they experienced about one customer per month sending back wine for quality issues. A further 25.4% said one customer a week sent back wine, 21.3% said this happened two to five times per week. Around 6.6% said 10 customers per week would send back one, while 5.7% had never had a customer send back a wine.
For their at-home wine enjoyment the bulk (50.7%) of wine trade respondents still preferred cork as a closure for their wines, followed by screwcaps (42.6%) and synthetic closures (6.7%.)

“Wine lovers still love their corks,” says Elisa Pedro, Director, Communication & International Relations for APCOR. “This survey shows consumers trust cork and see it as a sign of quality in wine.”
APCOR is a consortium of the world’s biggest cork producers. Today Portugal has the most modern cork stopper closure manufacturing facilities in the world and accounts for nearly half of all worldwide cork production.

Balzac Communications and Marketing is a marketing communications agency with a no-nonsense approach to combining the strategies and tactics of marketing, public relations, advertising and graphic design to achieve the marketing goals of our clients. The experience, creativity and determination of our staff distinguish Balzac from our competition. We use these assets to develop and execute cost-effective campaigns, which have won international communications awards. The results speak for themselves. The agency is located in Napa, California, and provides services to national, regional, and local companies based in Northern California and throughout the world.

For further information, please contact:
Balzac Communications & Marketing
Paul Wagner/Helen Pitt
Tel: + 1 707 255 7667



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