Grape variety has overtaken region or price promotion to become the most important influence on wine buying decisions in the UK.
According to Wine Intelligence’s latest “UK Landscape” report, released this week, 70% of consumers choose wine due to the grape variety or varieties, making it the number one buying cue.
Other influences on purchasing decisions listed by the report include promotional offer, with 66% of consumers citing this selling technique as key, followed by region of origin, with 52% mentioning the source as the primary purchase consideration, up from 48% in2011.
Commenting on the findings, Wine Intelligence CEO Richard Halstead told the drinks business, “Variety certainly seems to be making a bit more headway in terms of consumer headspace.”
Although he said there was no single reason for this development, he suggested that the rise of New World wines in the UK market, which more commonly sell products according to grape variety, was one factor.
He also said that the previous UK Landscape report, which was published two years ago, showed that promotional offer was the leading buying cue, and suggested that it may have slipped to second place due to a reduction in the amount and depth of discounts.
“There are slightly fewer promotions around and they are slightly less compelling than they were a couple of years ago; the death of 3 for £10 is probably behind it,” he said.
Considering the increasing importance of variety in purchasing decisions, it seems logical that UK retailers should consider retailing wine by grape, rather than country.
Halstead agreed, but said, “No retailer I’ve known has said I’m going to go varietal.”
He also noted that arranging wine by style had, in many cases, failed in the UK market because style categorisations had confused consumers. As for organising wine by country, this too fails to provide an accurate indication of a wine’s character.
“We’ve moved beyond a world where country is the delineator to how things taste, for example, you might have an austere Shiraz/Syrah from Australia, and a rich one from France.”