Massachusetts Beverage Business



Perhaps we’re not as wine savvy as we all think we are. According to new research consumers in both the US and the UK are comfortable with some concept of regionality, but New World regions are the biggest sufferers. The study was conducted by Wine Intelligence using the Vinitrac consumer data tracking system in both countries. In a program at the London International Wine Fair, Wine Intelligence’s CEO Lulie Halstead and her coworker Erica Donoho presented data on whether country and region of origin are significant influences on consumer choice. Their figures came from data collected from 2OOO wine drinkers in the US and 1OOO in the UK. For regional name recognition, Marlborough in New Zealand and Barossa in Australia were the least recognized major wine regions in the survey. Just 1O percent of US respondents had heard of the Barossa Valley, and only 12 percent of Marlborough; among UK wine drinkers, the figures were 38 percent and 27 percent respectively. Not surprisingly, Bordeaux topped both countries’ polls, with 94 percent awareness in the UK and 8O percent in the US, followed by Champagne (93 percent UK; 75 percent US).

The survey also asked all 3OOO respondents to write down the first word that came into their minds when shown the name of a wine region. When Marlborough was shown, the most popular response was (sadly) “cigarettes”; for Chianti, the film Silence of the Lambs was one of the most frequently repeated. “Don’t know” was a common response for Barossa, but so was Shiraz and Australia less often. “Spain” came up often on the US participant’s list of responses to Barossa. The general responses for both the UK and US respondents for Champagne were “celebration”, “expensive”, and “my wedding”. The differences for recognition for Napa were understandably skewed: people in the UK put down American most often, with Australia, Italy and France showing up as well. For the US respondents, they overwhelmingly listed California, with descriptors such as “good”, “high quality”, “grapes”, and “USA”.

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