Each cluster was compared on a
range of demographic (age, gender, income)
and wine consumption behavior
and attitudes, but no major differences
were found between the groups — an
interesting and very important result.
Typical marketing and wine marketing
professionals have been using
demographics and other easy-tomeasure
variables to segment potential
consumers for their products.
We have now been using “choice”
experiments for more than six years,
and continue to find that demographics
and attitudes do not predict
how consumers choose wine.
Consumers definitely use different
strategies to make wine choices, and
our experimental results have strong
correlations with actual sales in the
market, so we believe wine marketers
need to reconsider how they segment
As a result of this finding, producers
cannot specifically target the five
consumer segments by supplying
different products to different sales
channels. However, this study outlines
certain combinations of wine
attributes that are valued by certain
For example, lower-priced wines
should display information on food
pairing and elaborate taste descriptions,
which are of high utility for
about one-third of consumers (C1).
A smaller share of about one-fifth
of consumers who value environmental
back label attributes like to
read history and production method
information and elaborate taste descriptions
Wines sold at medium and higher
price points are recommended to
display food pairing, elaborate taste
descriptions, and winery history
information on back labels (C3 and
C4). All of these additions had positive
impacts on choice probabilities.
The low importance of an environmental
message agrees with
findings by H. Remaud et al., who
found that only 15% of Australian
wine consumers consider environmental
claims when making a wine
purchase decision.4 In this study, it
only has a notable impact for one
consumer cluster (C2).
While almost all information on
back labels had a positive impact on
consumer choice, ingredient information
had a strong negative effect
for about one-third of frequent Australian
For a small segment (13%), the
negative impact on choice of 59%
implies that a very positive attribute
such as a very low price would have
to compensate for the substantive
negative reaction to ingredient information.
This strong aversion to the
list of ingredients was surprising,
and cannot be explained completely
by this study. It is possible that the
mention of complex and unfamiliar
ingredients creates a stronger feeling
of risk or perhaps is inconsistent
with the overall image of wine as
natural and healthy.
These findings have important implications
for a government considering
compulsory labeling of wine
ingredients as recently supported
by Australia’s leading consumer organization,
“Choice.”3 The government
has to ensure that consumers
are educated and informed about the
meaning, risk, and potential health
impact of those ingredients and
needs to find terms and language
understandable to buyers.
these information measures
are likely to have an adverse impact
by creating risk perceptions instead
of reducing consumer uncertainty.
This study is preliminary and used
only back labels and price. We know
about one-half of consumers mainly
use front labels in their
decision, so these findings must be
combined with a good understanding
of front labels to be effective. We
did find that, except for ingredient
labeling, these back label statements
had either a positive or no effect,
so using these results to fine-tune a
back label is recommended.
We were unable to measure the
interactions of different back label
statements over the total consumer
sample. Some combinations of
statements had a stronger effect for
some clusters than for others. Back
label statements are an inexpensive
and efficient means for small- and
medium-size wineries to interact
with consumers, and more attention
should be paid to what is actually
printed on the back label.
This article was edited from first publication
in The Australia & New Zealand
Wine Industry Journal, January/
February 2010, and is reproduced here
with kind permission of the publisher,
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