Don't Judge a Wine by Its Closure: Price Premiums for Corks in the U.S. Wine Market

Academic Article


  • AbstractFor many purchases, consumers often possess only limited information about product quality. Thus, observable product characteristics are used to determine expected quality levels when making purchase decisions. We use more than 1 million weekly scanner-level observations from grocery stores across ten U.S. markets between September 2009 and August 2012 to examine how consumers value a wine bottle's closure type (i.e., cork or screw cap). We focus on lower-priced wines—those with sale prices less than $30 per 750 milliliter bottle—to more accurately evaluate decisions of consumers for whom seeking additional information about wine quality is likely more costly than the benefits derived from that information. Using both pooled ordinary least squares and quantile regressions to estimate price premiums for bottles with corks or screw caps, we find that U.S. consumers are willing to pay, on average, approximately 8% more (about $1.00) for a bottle of wine that has a cork closure. In addition, we show that the size of this premium increases as wine prices decline. (JEL Classifications: D81, M31, Q11)
  • Authors

  • Bekkerman, Anton
  • Brester, Gary W
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2019
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 3
  • End Page

  • 25
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 01