Wines Sealed with Real Cork Enjoy Sales Surge As Alternative Closures Fall from Favor

Sales of Wine with Cork Rise 14% as Alternatives Plunge 13%

Apr 12, 2011, 12:56 ET from

SAN FRANCISCO, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Reports of the death of cork wine closures have been greatly exaggerated.  Indeed, corks are not only alive and well, they are grabbing market-share from alternative closures, 100% Cork announced today.


"The top 100 domestic wines sealed with cork are selling much better than those with alternative closures and they're fetching a higher price," said Peter Weber, executive director of the Cork Quality Council.  "Cork is on a comeback."

Of the Top 100 Domestic Premium Wine Brands in America, sales of wines sealed with cork totaled 8.7 million cases during the 12 weeks ended Feb. 5, 2011 -- a 13.8 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier.  Case sales of brands closed with screw-caps and plastic stoppers tumbled 13.1 percent during the same comparative periods. The data were derived from a survey of retail outlets by A.C. Nielsen.

Revenue from the top 100 brands sealed with cork jumped 12 percent to $1.1 billion during the same period.  But revenue for wines finished with alternative closures, defined as screw-caps and plastic stoppers, plummeted 10.3 percent to $700.4 million.

"The fact is, Americans overwhelmingly prefer cork, and wineries are responding to that demand," Weber said.  "Meanwhile, the quality of cork has improved dramatically while drawbacks have emerged for alternative closures.  With these trends only expected to intensify, the future of cork looks very promising."

Current sales trends also demonstrate that wine brands closed with real cork command higher prices. During the 12 weeks ended Feb. 5, 2011, the top 100 brands with cork sold for an average of $1.32 more per bottle than those with a screw-cap or plastic stopper.

A complete presentation of the data can be found on the CQC's web site.

About 100% Cork

100% Cork is a campaign to educate U.S. wine consumers about the benefits of choosing wine with natural cork stoppers because of cork's environmental, technical and societal advantages. The campaign seeks to recruit and organize wine consumers to request that winemakers and retailers choose natural cork over artificial stoppers. The campaign is funded by the Portuguese Cork Association and the Cork Quality Council.