Wine Sensibilities: A Journey Through Key Attributes Consumers Look For
Lesschaeve I., Neudorf, E., Bowen A., and Bruwer, J.
To appear in the Proceedings for the 2010 International Cool Climate Symposium
This paper reports a study conducted in 2009 to identify Ontario consumer preferences for white wines. A rigorous systematic process was followed to select commercial wines available and representing the sensory variability existing in the market, which led to the selection of 18 wines. These wines were profiled by a trained sensory panel using a descriptive technique, which permitted to select 12 wines for consumers’ assessment. Three groups of consumers were pre-recruited in the Greater Toronto Area based on age, gender and usage criteria. A total of 120 consumers tasted the wine samples blind and answered demographics and attitude questionnaires. The primary preference dimension identified in this study, which characterized the preference of 77% of the consumer sample, was driven by perceived sweetness, fruitiness as opposed to oaky flavours, and burning mouthfeel due to higher alcohol content. These attributes tend to be primarily imparted by winemaking practices. The sensory attributes related to grape varietal characters explained the second preference dimension.