The overall aim of this study is to examine the regional brand image of selected California wine regions and the effect of that image on consumers' quality perceptions when included on wine labels. It also seeks to examine the importance of regional brand image with respect to information other than place‐of‐origin provided on the wine labels. Finally, the study seeks to define consumer preference for selected California wine regions, with a deeper look at Sonoma, and their preference for appellations within those regions.
Data collection took place by means of a highly‐structured online survey of male and female wine consumers, during a two‐week period in May 2006 across the USA. The sample was limited to two groups of wine consumers who are the recipients of monthly and quarterly wine newsletters respectively. The request to participate was directed to 9,922 e‐mail boxes that yielded a response rate of 5.7 percent, finally resulting in 570 usable surveys.
The perceived quality of a wine region raises the quality expectation of the sub‐regions or appellations within that region. This was especially evident in the case of Sonoma County. The wine region is the most important information to predict quality on wine labels. Almost without exception, the addition of regional information on a label increased consumer confidence in the quality of the product. The ever‐increasing number of American viticultural areas (AVAs) results in a fragmented offering in terms of the place‐of‐origin marketing strategy to consumers and is not desirable.
The research suggests that a wine regional brand image is multi‐dimensional in nature and that many, in fact, most individual AVAs have weak regional brand strength when compared with the high equity ones such as Napa Valley and Sonoma. These findings are, however, tentative as the study was conducted only in the USA and largely among California residents with a relatively high wine involvement level. These issues warrant further investigation.
This paper is of value to academic readers, wine industry practitioners and regional wine and/or tourism associations alike as it synthesises the importance of a wine's region of origin in the consumer wine‐buying process and the impact of place‐of‐origin as a wine marketing strategy.
Johnson, R. and Bruwer, J. (2007), "Regional brand image and perceived wine quality: the consumer perspective", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 276-297. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511060710837427Download as .RIS
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