A review of gold medal winners shows a growing popularity of cork closures.
The Sonoma County Harvest Fair hosts one of California’s oldest and most prestigious wine competitions. This year’s competition included over 1,000 wines made from Sonoma County grapes. Gold medals were awarded to 345 wines. Of gold medals awarded, 323 went to wines finished with cork (94%). The remaining 22 wines were finished in screwcap closures. These resulting percentages were identical to 2015 and slightly increased from what was seen in 2012 and 2014, when 92% of gold medal awards also went to cork finished wines. Our survey did not find any gold medal wines finished with synthetic closures.
Consumer research consistently demonstrates that wine drinkers perceive cork finished wines to have superior quality than wines offering alternative closures. In a 2011 study of consumer attitudes toward wine packaging, Rebecca Bleibaum of Tragon reported “an overwhelming 93% of consumers agree that natural cork conveys wines of high or very high quality. This was 3 times higher than synthetic closures and 9 times higher than screw cap.”