New Wine Institute Research Offers Road Map For California Wine Competitiveness
SAN FRANCISCO - A new study commissioned by Wine Institute finds that California wine ranks first in favorability and familiarity with U.S. wine consumers by a wide margin. The survey of 2,442 U.S. wine consumers by Yankelovich and The Segmentation Company sm, a division of Yankelovich, also indicates that California can improve its position by developing and sharing a cohesive message, connecting with the powerful imagery of the state and responding to consumers' quest for "safe adventure." These are among the findings of the first comprehensive research on U.S. wine consumers by Wine Institute in more than 20 years undertaken as part of a Market Development program to enhance the competitiveness of California wine in the U.S. "Providing our member wineries with research, information and tools is one of our top priorities," said Robert P. Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "By better understanding our consumer, as well as our strengths and the areas where we can improve, California wineries will be more successful both individually and collectively in the future."
Among the key findings of the survey:
California Wines Rank First in Familiarity, Consumption and Positive Impressions The national survey asked wine consumers about their familiarity and consumption of wines from 12 different U.S. and foreign regions, including California. Of the regions evaluated, California ranks first in favorability, familiarity and consumption. Three-quarters of U.S. wine consumers describe the state's wine characteristics as: an easy to enjoy taste, versatile, appropriate for many occasions, a good value and consistent. No other region comes close to matching California's rankings on these key purchase criteria. However, the research also finds that while California is well-positioned with U.S. wine consumers in general, the state's wine industry can benefit from developing a more distinctive image and from capitalizing on the positive association with California's wine country landscape, tourism and the distinct personalities of its regions.
Wine Consumers Are on the Leading Edge of Trends
Aligning the Wine Institute findings with data derived from the annual Yankelovich MONITOR survey of American adults, the research also showed that from an attitudinal standpoint, wine consumers exhibit traits that put them on the leading edge of trends. Wine consumers stand out from the U.S. population in several ways and, in general, are more likely to:
- Be open to new experiences
- Follow their own path in life
- Be information-savvy and confident consumers
- Desire intangibles, experiences and emotions
- Have their life priorities in order
- Eschew brands as badges
In addition, wine consumers, especially women who account for the majority of wine purchases in most price segments, enjoy wine in small, intimate gatherings and choose it for reasons that speak to enhancing an experience.
Word of Mouth is the Most Powerful Influencer
The research confirms that wine consumers look to personal recommendations as the most prized sources of information. Trusted friends and family, followed by the sommelier or server when in a restaurant setting, are mentioned as the top information sources. Nearly 40 percent of wine consumers report receiving wine information from publications including newspapers' wine sections or columns and lifestyle and wine magazines in the past three months. And, in a finding that reinforces the value of wineries' investments in tasting rooms, visits to a winery are among the most powerful influences in a purchase decision among the 25 percent who report receiving information this way. Winery websites were also found to be as popular as other wine and lifestyle websites among those interested in on-line information.
Wine by the Glass Responds to Consumers' Quest for "Safe Adventure"
Among those who purchase wine at restaurants, bars and clubs, nearly three in four purchases (74 percent) are by the glass. Wine consumers who spend more on a bottle of wine are more likely to buy by the bottle when on premise but even those who buy at price points $15 and above (at retail) choose wines by the glass the majority of time. Yankelovich relates the popularity of by-the-glass purchases to the current U.S. consumer desire for "safe adventure" - opportunities to be bold and take chances without going overboard. Wine consumers who are generally more confident and risk-taking find by-the-glass purchase ideal for experimentation.
About the Survey
The Wine Institute survey by Yankelovich and The Segmentation Company was designed to build on current knowledge of U.S. wine consumers and provide a benchmark on consumer attitudes and behaviors about wine in general and California wine in particular. The survey was based on 2,442 on-line interviews with consumers 21 years of age and older who consume wine more than a couple of times a year and have joint or sole responsibility for wine purchase decisions in their household. The survey averaged 22 minutes and included 56 questions, many multi-part, on subjects including wine consumption preferences and usage, on premise behavior, regional familiarity, consumption, and perceptions, attitudes and lifestyles, information/communications channels and demographics.
About Yankelovich Inc. and The Segmentation Company
Yankelovich offers a complete mix of marketing services and solutions for clients. For more than 30 years, The Yankelovich MONITOR¨ has tracked and forecasted consumer attitudes, values, and lifestyle trends. The Segmentation Companysm (TSC), a division of Yankelovich, is a full-service custom research and consulting firm that helps clients precisely target their customers through segmentation and brand equity and positioning work. Yankelovich and TSC are headquartered in Chapel Hill, NC.
About Wine Institute
Wine Institute is the association of 887 California wineries and affiliated businesses whose members account for 85 percent of U.S. wine production and 95 percent of U.S. wine exports. Established in 1934, the organization is dedicated to initiating and advocating state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wine Institute seeks to broaden public understanding of the wine industry and its role in the American economy, lifestyle and culture.