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Understanding Wine Consumers

It general the wine industry does not communicate well with customers. For a product that is consumed in so many different scenarios, most of the time finding the ideal wine for a particular moment can be a lottery. Understanding Wine Consumers.

I thought of this the other day when a lady came into our store to ask for a bottle of wine for a lunch with her parents. I picked up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and explained that it had aromas and flavours of lemon, mango and asparagus, which is typical of this wine from Marlborough. It was only when I said it had an explosion of fruit flavours that she lite up and said that is what I want.

Without some training and practise it is difficult to notice specific flavours in wine so using clear, concise, truthful language is something wine professionals must improve upon. Other descriptive words to describe a wine are, delicate, powerful, light, aromatic, rich, smooth, Oaky or not Oaky etc. Words that encapsulate a range of sensations. The key it to avoid over descriptive nonsensical information about what is inside the bottle. When a wine drinker expresses an interest in a style then it is possible to elaborate further.

Recognising that each of us is different in terms of style preferences, whether it be music, clothes or wine. For example sensitivity to acidity or tannin, allows for other ways to communicate with consumers. If you have a sensitive palate a wine that is slightly sweet Moscatel will be preferable to a dry, highly acidic wine, such as an Albariño. There are many wines around that are slightly sweet although this is often not indicated on the label. Wineries should use the space on a back label to indicate more clearly what is inside.

Wine in general is not an impulse One of the best ways to engage with wine drinkers is to ask when and with who the wine is for. A man comes in here every so often with a specific wine request, ‘2 bottles of wines from anywhere in the world within a budget of €20 to have with his friends with their ‘almuerzo’. This is a fun way to discover new wines and with information I know what to suggest. A lady asks for wine to share with girlfriends, something light and dry, I suggest and easy drinking sparkling wine such as a Prosecco.

That is why it is important to ask ‘when and with who are you to drink the wine?’. By doing this the consumer is put at ease because it is not about wine knowledge it is about the occasion. This requires much better wine eduction for professionals, whether they are working in a shop or restaurant or in a winery, to communicate directly with consumers.

There are wonderful wines and wine drinkers want to discover them, the wine industry has to improve how to communicate directly with the final customer.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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