How does your wine make you feel?

Aug 29, 2014 by Robyn Mills

University of Adelaide researchers are investigating the links between wine, where it's consumed and emotion to help the Australian wine industry gain deeper consumer insights into their products.

A trial is being carried out involving 360 wine consumers who have been sampling specific wines in different environments, and rating their emotional response on a specially devised 'wine emotion scale'.

"There has been a lot of work done on sensory analysis of wine so we now have a very good idea of what consumers like about wine," says project leader Dr Sue Bastian, Senior Lecturer in Oenology and Sensory Studies, in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

"But just knowing what flavours consumers like and don't like is not enough. We need to learn from the food and perfume industries and understand how wines affect our emotions - and the role emotions play in influencing what we choose to drink at certain occasions and how emotions affect our purchasing decisions."

Over the past 18 months in preparation for the consumer trial:

  • Experts have helped to identify four distinct quality levels of 100 Australian Shiraz wines;
  • Consumer focus groups were used to validate a wine emotion scale;
  • A trained tasting panel compiled detailed sensory profiles of 40 of the 100 wines, chosen as distinct examples of their quality groups;
  • 12 wines were finally selected to make three flights of four wines (one from each quality group) for random allocation to the trial participants.

The participants then blind tasted four wines in three different settings - a restaurant, at home and in the sensory laboratory. They rated 19 different emotions the wines may have prompted ranging from warm-hearted or nostalgic through to tense or irritated on a scale of 1-9 (not-at-all to extremely).

"There are characters in wines which may generate negative emotion; but we also want to understand what it is about wine which drives positive emotion," says Dr Bastian.

"We are also looking at how the wine setting, for example drinking in a restaurant as opposed to home, impacts the emotions that are stimulated as well as how the consumers like the wines and their perceptions of and the price they are prepared to pay.

"And we're investigating how consumer research lab results compare to those from more natural settings of home and restaurant to see if lab data can successfully predict consumer decisions compared to using more representative places and measures of consumer behaviour.

"Ultimately we want to have a clear understanding of our to wines and help the Australian industry, worth over $2.4 billion domestically, utilise this knowledge in its product development, differentiation and marketing."

Explore further: Explainer: How to solve a jewel heist (and why it takes so long)

Related Stories

Science finds wines' fruity flavors fade first

May 05, 2014

Testing conventional wisdom with science, recently published research from Washington State University reveals how different flavors "finish," or linger, on the palate following a sip of wine.

Economists explore 'loca-pouring' of wines

Oct 16, 2013

( —The 2013 grape harvest is in full swing, but when this vintage is bottled, will it appear on a wine list at your favorite restaurant? According to a team of researchers from Cornell's Charles H. Dyson School ...

What influences selection along the wine supply chain

Apr 03, 2014

A University of Adelaide wine marketing researcher has examined what influences selection along the wine supply chain, providing wine businesses with valuable insight into what encourages suppliers and customers to choose ...

Recommended for you

Top UK scientists warn against EU exit

18 hours ago

A group of leading British scientists including Nobel-winning geneticist Paul Nurse warned leaving the European Union could threaten research funding, in a letter published in The Times newspaper on Friday.

Publisher pushback puts open access in peril

May 21, 2015

Delegates at the The Higher Education Technology Agenda (THETA) conference on the Gold Coast last week heard from futurist Bryan Alexander about four possible scenarios for the future of knowledge. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.