A winemaker’s decision on whether to use a cork or screw cap closure is influenced by a number of factors; price is just one of them. To consumers, however, the issue of bottle closures appears to be much closer connected to economics and can even influence their perception of the quality of a wine (and how much they’ll ultimately pay for it).
A recent study published by the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) found that, on average, U.S. consumers are willing to pay eight percent more (approximately $1.00 per bottle) “for table wines that contain cork closures rather than screw cap closures.”
Additionally, the study found that “this premium increases for lower-priced wines, and decreases for more expensive wines.” This suggests that for cheaper wines, the bottle’s closure has a large impact on the perceived quality to the consumer. At higher price points, however, the type of closure has less of an influence on the consumer’s opinion on the potential quality of a wine.
To carry out the study, the AAWE collected data from grocery stores across ten U.S. markets between September 2009 and August 2012. The study focused on wines priced less than $30 per 750-milliliter bottle. For more information, the full report can be viewed here.