Label descriptions make us more emotional about wine

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
Researchers have found that consumers are much more influenced by wine label descriptions than had previously been thought.

A consumer study by Adelaide University and published in the journal Food Research International​ has shown that far beyond just influencing consumer choice, wine descriptions can alter consumer emotions, increase their wine liking and encourage them to pay more for a bottle.

Choosing the right wine at the point of sale whether in a wine store, in a restaurant or online can be a difficult task​,” said project leader Sue Bastian.

The importance of wine labels and label information has been widely studied and it’s been clearly shown that they represent useful information which influences consumer choice. Our study extends these findings, showing that wine descriptions also influence our whole wine consumption experience​.”

When coupled with unbranded wine tasting, cleverly written wine and producer descriptions can evoke more positive emotions, increasing one’s positive perception of the wine, estimation of its quality and the amount consumers would be willing to pay, Associate Professor Bastian added.

The wine industry-funded study assessed the behaviour of 126 regular white wine consumers who evaluated the same set of commercially available Australian chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc wines. 

The three-way test was conducted in the form of a blind tasting with no information, with a basic sensory description and with an elaborate/emotional description.

The latter approach, which included information regarding winery history and positive wine quality statements, significantly increased the preference rating the consumers allocated to the wines.

The results also showed that if the expectations elicited by the wine description closely matched the actual liking from tasting, consumers felt far more positive emotions than if it didn’t meet expectations.

These findings have important implications for wine producers and the hospitality industry in that descriptions require more than just wine tasting notes​,” said Lukas Danner, post-doctoral research fellow and first author on the study. 

Companies could even consider involving consumers in label description optimisation​.”

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