by Rosie Davenport
Pub-goers are still reluctant to buy wines sealed with screwcaps as the tradition of natural cork prevails in the on-trade.
These are the findings of the first major survey conducted into the attitudes of on-trade customers, conducted by research company Wine Intelligence and Young's brewery.
The study, which was carried out in five Young's pubs and sampled the views of 141 customers, found that 55% of respondents attached a higher value to a wine sealed with natural cork. A further 38% of respondents would expect the same price for either bottle, while very few would assign more value to the bottle sealed with a screwcap.
The figures show that the off-trade trend towards screwcaps, which was first championed by Tesco, has been slow to catch on in pubs.
However, according to the on-trade survey, women are more accepting of screwcaps than men, with 36% responding to them positively compared to 20% among men. Not surprisingly, participants who drink more often, and are thereforemore familiar with wine, were more positive about screwcaps.
The survey said: "The results of this on-trade survey indicate that cork-sealed bottles still have strong support in a restaurant or pub setting, where the associated ritual' of pulling the stopper is part of the enjoyment.
"However, it is notable that the most popular response to the comparative tasting indicated no difference in flavour between the cork-sealed wine and the screw-capped bottle."