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A Question of Image

The image of quality wine is strictly related to cork. The cork stopper is a reassuring product in the consumer’s imaginary, who saw their father and grand-father using it. In this context the consumer perceives it as a "noble" material.

Culturally, we cannot ignore that the consumer is used to the sound a cork makes when it is taken out of the bottle, the ritual it represents, particularly if a sommelier recommends and serves a good wine. We cannot forget that it is part of the pleasure of drinking a wine just as we cannot imagine drinking wine in a plastic glass.

However, it is difficult to define the behaviour of a new generation of consumers. Changes may put an end to century-old traditions, with today’s preference of a "fast-food culture".
Consumer behaviour varies enormously according to the origin. In producer countries such as France 90% of bottles are closed with cork. In contrast, in countries such as Switzerland, more consumer than producer, 80% of stoppers are screwcaps.

Coloured plastic stoppers testify a will to communicate its recreational values. Some plastic stoppers imitate cork, copying the grain and colour of cork, instead of differentiating themselves. This measure is intended to reassure the consumer. These imitations are targeted at consumers who wish to recreate the ritual of uncorking.

In Europe surveys show that three quarters of consumers prefer cork . But when you buy a bottle in a supermarket, how do you know if it has a cork or a synthetic stopper? Shouldn’t the transparency and information due to the consumer require that labels have a notice such as: "stoppered with cork"?