I would like to thank the 87 participants of the grape and wine workshop we co-hosted at Vineland last Thursday with Brock’s CCOVI. The theme my co-presenters, Dr. Antonia Mantonakis and Amy Bowen, chose was “Understanding Ontario Wine Consumer” , which seemed timely considering the overwhelming response. When I originally brainstormed the idea with Amy, we were expecting 20 people and were planning some types of round table discussions. Wow! Rittenhouse Hall was packed.
I was particularly energized by the feedback we received, the suggestions for new research directions, or simply encouragements to continue the hard work.
My take away from the wine workshop is that we need to communicate more often research findings to our industry stakeholders, and not only from our own program, but from other research groups as long as the findings are useful to industry. Like Vineland horticulture scout touring the world to bring new technologies and new plant varieties to Canada, I feel the need to scout the world of consumer research to highlight findings that could have a practical value to the industry.
I overheard a conversation during lunch where a workshop participant expressed her astonishment: “I didn’t know that there were so many studies going on”. It is indeed somehow unusual for researchers to host such meeting with industry stakeholders. Typically, researchers would rather present their research findings at international scientific conferences or submit them to top tier peer reviewed journals for publication or even write a book! In a way that’s what counts in academia in order to build credentials for grant applications. Moreover, having the endorsement of peers validates the robustness of findings and gives confidence prior disclosing publicly results.
I am an atypical researcher, some of you might have noticed. Based on a test I took a while ago, I use both sides of my brain equally which means, I was told, that I operate equally at the analytic and creative levels. I recently developed an interest for social media, with the vision of engaging consumers of horticulture products (incl. wine) and collect their opinions on recently launched new products, new product concepts, and more generally to get insights on the market trends and market needs. Blogging was an intimidating option. Thinking about the workshop outcomes gain, blogging would be a great media to communicate and continue to engage our stakeholders in the research world. So here I am writing to you and here is my commitment: I will post regularly summaries of research findings related to consumer behavior and their perception of plant, food and wine quality. My personal benefit will be to keep up with the abundance of new papers in my field.
Building on the wine workshop again, I will summarize in my next post the main research findings presented during the day and the key messages to take away. Future topics? Food and wine pairing, Effect of packaging on consumers choice and willingness to pay, Factors driving consumers to purchase local and organic products.
Do you have any suggestions?