Home Industry News Releases iDealwine Survey | The Impact of Climate Change on Wine Enthusiasts

iDealwine Survey | The Impact of Climate Change on Wine Enthusiasts

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Paris, 12 December 2022: iDealwine, a global leader in fine wine auction sales, recently presented the results of a survey aimed at measuring the impact of climate change on consumer behaviour. The survey was conducted amongst wine enthusiasts with accounts on iDealwine’s website and the results were presented during the company’s annual wine tasting event held in Paris. During the event, the survey results served as the basis for a round table discussion dedicated to the adaptations implemented by winemakers in response to climate change.

The survey respondents

The survey, which was proposed to all customers who have an account on the iDealwine website, garnered 1,653 responses. The average age of the sample was 49 years old with most responses coming from customers who possess a good knowledge of wine. Additionally, although the study was conducted globally, the majority of respondents currently live in France.

Concern for the environment is not new at iDealwine – the topics of organic and biodynamic practices have led to passionate exchanges with winemakers since the company’s creation in 2000. Furthermore, the proportion of organic and biodynamic products being offered at fixed price on the iDealwine website is already significant, approaching 50% of the total.

Shifting regional preferences

45.56% of respondents reported that they regularly change their consumption habits from one producing region to another, regardless of climate impact.

About one in five customers (19%) said they are currently taking climate change into consideration and that they are thinking about making changes to their consumption habits on this basis. For these customers, the top three producing regions before considering climate impact were Bordeaux (42.46%), Burgundy (23.02%), and the Rhone (14.29%). After taking climate impact into account, these same customers report their top three preferences as Burgundy (26.19%), the Loire Valley (18.25%), and the Rhone (13.49%). In this scenario, Bordeaux comes in fourth place (15.25%), with the relative dissatisfaction for this region having clearly benefitted the others. Note that among non-French respondents the podium is quite different, with Burgundy still occupying the top spot (37.5%) followed by Bordeaux (18.75%) and finally non-French wines (12.5%).

Regarding their preference for colour, nearly half of respondents (45%) said that they plan to augment their consumption of white wine, while 48% said they have no plans to change their current balance between red and white consumption. More generally, the survey found that more than 60% of respondents do not plan to make short term changes to their collection on the basis of climate change.

What impact has climate change had on the taste of wine?

Four out of five wine enthusiasts in the study claimed to have observed recent changes in the taste and alcohol percentage of their wines. However, even though customers claimed to have observed these changes, they do not necessarily consider it a negative experience. For example, 39% of customers who observed a change in taste said that they are still able to find wines that fit their preferences and 26% of them claimed that there was actually an improvement in quality. The latter sentiment was particularly noted in Cabernet Sauvignon from Médoc, Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, and Pinot Noir from Alsace. For Burgundian reds, some respondents praised what they consider to be a more supple product, while admitting that this characteristic would only be positive up to a point.

Unsurprisingly, the climate-related shifts in taste which were most often cited by customers were richness and opulence (30% of respondents). This finding is undoubtably linked to other cited perceptions like higher alcohol percentage, over-ripeness, and notes of cooked fruit – all of which are marks of sunny and hot vintages. Interestingly though, only 8% of customers emphasised an imbalance in their wine. In fact, 12.38% of them said they value the perceived “digestibility” in wines today. On the other end of the spectrum, 6% of customers noted a recent evolution of under-ripeness in their wines, potentially in response to winemaking decisions aimed at preserving their acidity.

Regarding the degree of alcohol in their wine, 48% of respondents said that they do pay attention to the level of alcohol on the label, however, this doesn’t mean that they are basing their purchasing decisions on it. Only 18% of customers indicated that they plan to change their buying habits based on a perception of increasingly strong products.

Is there a need for more transparency?

Though 75% of respondents said that they know some winemakers are taking action against climate change, only 22% of them were able to provide examples of such action. This is an interesting discovery considering that 7% of customers asserted that they plan to factor climate-friendly adaptations more into their purchasing decisions. 

Dealing with rising prices due to climate-related crop loss

More than half of survey respondents claim that they are either “definitely” (36%) or “potentially” (21%) building up their current collection in order to cope with future price hikes – much of which we know to be the result of climate-driven crop failure. About one third of survey respondents (32.5%) said that they are willing to accept a maximum price increase of 10%, while 36.4% believe that they will continue to find good wine without having to increase their budget.

Favouring wines that are more adapted to climate change

When asked about recent changes introduced by winemakers (in part due to climate change): 77% of customers said they are in favour of reviving older, indigenous grape varieties, 49% were in favour of using amphora for vinification, and 47.5% said that they favour whole-harvest vinification to preserve the freshness of the juice.

37.26% of wine enthusiasts in the study considered research into more sustainable production methods to be an important endeavour (lighter bottles, closed-loop manufacturing). Even if this is still a relatively small proportion, we expect it to grow rapidly due to inflationary pressure on production costs.

The attraction to organic wine continues to grow as well, with 20% of respondents claiming that they plan to buy more organic wine in the future and 6% saying that they have already been purchasing these wines for quite some time. Additionally, 9% of customers said that they are moving toward biodynamic wines and 3% indicated an interest in natural wine.

Above all, this iDealwine study reinforces the confidence and appreciation that our customers have for the vineyards, winemakers, and labels they know. These enthusiasts understand that winemakers are at the forefront of climate change and that they are adapting their methods accordingly.

Information regarding video conference on this subject which took place on 24 November 2022:

Climate change – What does it change for the consumers? How are winemakers adapting?

Conference includes Saskia de Rothschild (Domaines Barons de Rothschild), Hervé Jestin (oenology consultant and cellar master at Leclerc Briant) and Gabriel Lepousez (Doctor of neuroscience)

Conference moderated by journalist Rachelle Lemoine

Watch the complete conference here

About iDealwine | Accelerating the digital wine revolution

Founded in 2000, iDealwine is the global online leader in fine wine auctions and France’s no1 wine auctioneer for six consecutive years. With its headquarters in Paris, and offices in Bordeaux and Hong Kong, iDealwine is trusted by 650,000 wine lovers in 60+ countries for buying and selling wine.

In addition to the rare wines for sale at auction, iDealwine also offers a vast selection of wines available at fixed price. This selection is continuously growing, with wines sourced directly from a network of over 900 partner domains and a range of old vintages bought from private cellars.

iDealwine has also established a reputation for excellence in wine market analysis, through its annual Barometer publication. The data drawn from over 190,000 bottles allows iDealwine to identify trends almost as they happen. The Barometer is an exhaustive guide to the most sought-after wines, top bids, and fine wine trends, a must have for wine lovers, investors, and collectors.

iDealwine ships worldwide, including to the UK and USA.

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