The cork vs screwcap debate

Posted: 28th Sep 2017

So do you prefer a bottle with a cork or a screwcap lid?

A study has looked into whether or not we're influenced by the sound or sight of a cork-stopped and screwcaped bottle of wine being opened.

140 participants were asked to test two identical wines, and to rate them after being played the sound of a cork popping, and again after hearing a screwcap being opened.

They were then asked to open both bottles and to rate the wines again.

Overall, participants rated the same wine as being better quality when it was served under a cork as opposed to a screwcap.

The wine under cork was also rated as being more appropriate for a celebration and more likely to incite a celebratory mood.

Professor Spence commented: "Our senses are intrinsically linked - what we hear, see and feel has a huge effect on what we taste. The sound and sight of a cork being popped sets our expectations before the wine has even touched our lips, and these expectations then anchor our subsequent tasting experience. These results emphasise the importance of closures for wine, and the clear association between cork and quality in our subconscious."

The cork vs screwcap debate has raged in the wine industry for decades, with experts, sommeliers and producers from across the world always deeply divided in their opinions. This experiment is the first empirical demonstration that a cork closure will provide a more positive drinking experience.

The study was designed by Professor Charles Spence of Oxford University's Crossmodal Research laboratory.