We were interested in whether a $30 Burgundy is better than a $30 Pinotage from South Africa or a $30 orange wine from Slovenia. Our goal is to understand the character and motivation of potential buyers of these and other wines.*
For far too many producers, the question of who buys or doesn't buy their wine is only really considered when there aren't enough people who do. And maybe not even then. The nature of the traditional wine trade separates most of the people who pick and ferment the grapes from those who drink them. Once the pallet or container of wine has left the cellars and payment has been made, the producers' attention turns to the next harvest, or the bottling session, or the trade show where they may well find themselves talking to importers, wholesalers and agents who often have little more direct contact with the end consumer than they do. Again, and particularly in the United States with its three-tier system, the imperative is to move the crates from the warehouse to the retailer or trade that will sell them to the person who will ultimately consume them.
We have analyzed white wines listed in the restaurants of Los Angeles, California.
Specialty retailers and sommeliers have a better idea of which of their customers is more likely to buy Burgundy or orange wine, but they may not know why that young woman often opts for a Brunello and that older man for a Muscadet - or why neither of them ever seems to opt for a Bordeaux. Supermarkets with successful loyalty cards understand much better, thanks to lists of other items that the customer puts in their shopping cart, but they even spend money and effort on focus group research to reveal the context of all these decisions. Large wineries like Gallo and Constellation, as well as a growing number of smaller brands, now have employees whose job titles include the word "insight".
These are the people who told the Treasury Wine Estate about the lack of market opportunities for a brand aimed at young men, which the company has filled with 19 Crimes, one of its most successful brands. They also almost certainly played a role in the current " Exceptional" campaign for Penfolds. Until recently, sophisticated targeted advertising was the preserve of direct marketing agencies, political parties and large corporations. Today, even winemakers with fairly limited budgets can be part of a growing list of consultants whose skills lie in using social media and other means to analyze the market and create "personas" - imaginary but representative human beings with jobs, homes, family and friends - who might be interested in a specific wine, if only they knew it existed. Talk to these people effectively and, in theory at least, your message will be conveyed to real people who will go out and buy your wine.
By David BECK
Director WINE ANALYTICS