Consumers like wine if they like the label

A German-Australian study has discovered that consumers decide whether they like wine not necessarily because of what it tastes like, but because of what the label looks like.

The study, noted in Australia's Food magazine, found that "[w]hile both taste and extrinsic attributes influenced a consumer ?s liking for a bottle of wine, packaging and brand were the biggest influences. … While the study shows extrinsic attributes such as packaging can play a more significant role in determining consumers ? liking of wine than taste, [the study found] the best advice for food and beverage producers is to ensure taste and packaging are equally as good."

More, after the jump:

In fact, the study found that packaging (46 percent) and brand (27 percent) were the two most important factors in whether consumers liked the wine they bought, while taste was third. Don't be surprised by this, since you'll find similar results for other consumer products.

The Wine Curmudgeon is reporting this not because it's shocking news — we've known this in the wine business for decades — but because it's a marketing study done by non-wine academics who did a legitimate academic study. That's what's significant. Wine, in the overall food marketing scheme of things, is a relatively minor category, with $10 billion in sales in 2010. By comparison, fresh vegetable sales in the U.S. are well more than twice that total, and how much attention does the fresh vegetable business get from the public?

If the same experts who figure out what influences the way consumers buy ketchup are now doing the same thing for wine, it will change the way wine is marketed. Which is a good thing, because wine marketing has always been kind of catch as catch can. The best example of this? Livestock wine. After the success of Yellow Tail, we saw an incredible increase in animal label and cute wine names. This was not necessarily because anyone had hard evidence that those techniques sold wine; rather, they were just copying Yellow Tail because Yellow Tail was successful. And, in the long run, that's a lousy way to do business.