The effects of natural cork, synthetic cork, and screwcap closures on wine consumer perceptions of the quality of commercial wines bottled for 33 months were examined in two experiments. The first determined that wine consumers could not detect sensorial differences between Chardonnay and Merlot wine samples sealed with the three closure types. The second measured if and how consumer wine-quality perceptions changed based on the type of closure used to seal the wine. Wines were presented twice to the same consumers: first when the closures were not revealed and second when each wine closure was revealed. For the Chardonnay samples, the knowledge that the wine was sealed with a natural cork did not significantly affect the liking or quality scores. However, when participants knew that the sample was bottled with a synthetic cork, the liking score tended to be lower and the difference was nearly significant, but quality ratings did not change. When participants learned the wine had a screwcap, both the liking and quality ratings were significantly lower. For the Merlot samples, there was no change in liking scores for any of the closures, but quality scores for the wine with a natural cork increased significantly.
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