US consumers show growing preference for wines sealed with natural cork over all artificial closures, at all price points, according to independent market research of wine sales in restaurants, retail outlets

LOS ANGELES , June 24, 2014 (press release) – 90 Percent of Top 50 Selling Restaurant Brands Sealed with Cork

100% Cork (www.100percentcork.org) said today that recent independent market research of wine sales in restaurants and retail outlets confirms the growing preference by U.S. consumers for wines sealed with natural cork over all artificial closures at all price points.

Wine & Spirits' "25th Annual Survey of the Top 50 Restaurant Wine Brands (http://www.corkqc.com/S-mat/Top50.pdf) asked wine directors at 218 restaurants to name their 10 best-selling wines. Their responses were compiled into a list of the Top 50 Restaurant Brands. Results were presented for 2013 and for the previous 10 years. The results for 2013 by closure type showed that brands primarily finished with cork accounted for 90 percent of the Top 50 Restaurant Brands, up 21 percent, as compared to ten years ago. Brands primarily finished with screw caps showed a 39 percent decline and brands using synthetic closures were down by 70 percent, as reported by wine directors.

These restaurant results are reinforced at the retail level by Nielsen Tracking Surveys for the U.S. Market for the four weeks ended April 26, 2014. According to Nielsen's latest figures, sales of premium wines sealed with cork continued to outpace wines sealed with artificial stoppers at all retail price points. The survey ranked the top 100 premium brands by gross revenue from domestic 750 ml table wine sales during the previous 12 months. Premium brands were defined as those averaging over $6 per bottle during the last 12 months.

Since 2010, sales of the top 100 premium brands sealed with cork were up by 36 percent, compared to 8 percent for wines with artificial closures. Other Nielsen highlights include:

Total case sales for the top 100 premium brands during the four-week period, were up 21 percent over the same period in 2010. Wines sealed with cork were up 37 percent; wines with artificial closures showed a 5% increase.
The median price among the top 100 premium brands was $12.87 for wines sealed with cork, compared to $8.81 for wines with artificial closures. The average price of cork finished wines was $11.31; the average price for wines with artificial closures was $9.34.
Revenues at every price point for the top 100 premium brands showed that wines sealed with cork led all categories and were particularly dominant in wines priced over $10.

"The results from these two national surveys demonstrate why it is in the wineries' best economic interest to use cork closures," said Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Cork Quality Council. "Whether it is in a restaurant or at a retail outlet, wine consumers overwhelmingly and consistently choose wines that are sealed with natural cork."

Joao Ferreira, president of the Portuguese Cork Association, added, "These positive results for cork should inspire all natural cork companies to maintain their focus on providing the highest quality product. As cork producers and wine lovers, we have an obligation to continue the 200-year bond between cork and wine, which not only enriches the wine experience, but also helps to mitigate global warming and improves the lives of thousands of men in women who work in the cork groves and in our companies."

About 100% Cork
100% Cork is a campaign to educate North American wine consumers, retailers and wineries about the benefits of choosing wine with natural cork closures because of cork's environmental, technical and societal advantages and its popularity among wine consumers. More information can be found at www.100percentcork.org.

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