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Wine Preferences Study Gives Wine Lovers a Stronger Voice

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Research demonstrates vast differences in sensory perception drive wine choices and opportunity to personalize the wine experience and empower consumer choice for wines.

VinotypeAn updated, new version of an influential online survey for wine consumers is now available and the drive to get wine lovers from all across the US to partake is underway. This study is conducted in conjunction with the Consumer Wine Awards which is slated for 8th annual April 9th, 2016, in Sacramento.

The survey is available online at:  https://v2.decipherinc.com/survey/selfserve/19b7/151003

Master of Wine Tim Hanni set out to do something revolutionary: Instead of telling wine consumers what they should want to drink, he wanted to find out what they really and truly wanted and liked to drink, and why. In 1999 he created his first wine consumer survey to learn more about wine consumers’ preferences, behavior and attitudes and has been collecting and analyzing the information for 16 years. His mission was to collect data about consumer wine preferences without the inherent bias of the wine expert’s point of view.

The 25,000 responses he has gathered through several iterations of his study caused him to rethink the way he talked and taught about wine. His teachings have, in turn, been adopted by the Society of Wine Educators, and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

“The first survey really opened my eyes to how big an opportunity the wine industry is missing — and how myopic it is — when it comes to understanding and respecting everyday wine consumers. The information shows me how much more pleasurable wine can be when people learn that differences in sensory perception form the basis for individual wine preferences.”

Since then Hanni has also begun collaboration with Dr. Virginia Utermohlen MD, a sensory researcher and board-certified pediatrician at Cornell University, to discover more about consumer preferences, especially in the wine world. This year Wine Intelligence, a UK-based research company, has joined forces for collecting and analyzing the data from the survey.

Hanni’s work led him to identify four distinct wine personalities, or Vinotypes, based on the factors that determine personal preferences; sensory genetics and life experiences. Anyone interested in learning their Vinotype can visit www.myvinotype.com for more information.

“For example, though the wine industry tends to dismiss sweet wine lovers as inexperienced, unsophisticated beginners who will learn to like dry wines, it became clear to us that people who like sweet wines most often have the most taste buds and therefore the most sensitive palates,” Hanni said. “People with fewer taste buds may find delicious, such as the intense, high alcohol and heavily oaked Cabernet Sauvignon, can be downright unpleasant, even painful, for an ultra-sensitive taster. It is important there are no better, or worse, tasters. There are often immense differences in what we perceive.”

Instead of respecting individual differences and preferences, however, Hanni said the wine industry continues to persist in a “one-size-fits-all approach telling us what we should like,” which Hanni likens to a shoe salesman telling a person with a size nine foot that he will just learn to like a size six shoe.

Rather than creating new enthusiastic wine consumers, this attitude drives away potential wine drinkers, said Hanni, who has been dubbed “the anti-wine snob” by the Wall Street Journal. “This is the time for all wine drinkers to have a voice — especially for the unfairly disenfranchised sweet wine lovers,” he said.

The survey is available online at:  https://v2.decipherinc.com/survey/selfserve/19b7/151003

About the Consumer Wine Awards:  
The Consumer Wine Awards is a wine competition where hundreds of everyday wine consumers have a chance to become a “Wine Judge for a Day.” The premise is that people who have a passion for specific types and styles of wine are put on panels to evaluate dozens of wines to create peer-to-peer recommendations for other who love that style of wine. Thus, people who love sweet wines only evaluate sweet wines, lovers of intense dry red wines only evaluate intense dry red wines, etc. The Consumer Wine Awards is sponsored by the Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Sacramento Magazine, Wine Shop at Home and Lenox Glassware. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Autism Center for Excellence in Sacramento. www.consumerwineawards.com

About Wine Intelligence Ltd:  
Wine Intelligence is the leading research-led strategy consultancy serving the global wine industry. It conducts client-specific research projects to aid companies to gain greater insights into wine markets and wine consumers, and helps business leaders develop business strategy and marketing plans. The company also assists businesses in developing new brands, and in formulating and communicating marketing messages within the industry.

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