The purpose of this paper is to study the impact that tasting sheet sensory descriptors have on wine sales in tasting rooms that rely on direct-to-consumer sales to sell the majority of their wines, such as those in New York wine regions.
Nine tasting rooms participated in the study that took place on weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) during a six-week period in July and August 2012. Tasting rooms alternated tasting sheets by weekend, one including sensory descriptors and one omitting sensory descriptors. At the end of each weekend, tasting room managers compiled information on daily wine bottle and (in the case of seven wineries) dollar sales. A multivariate statistical model was created to measure the relationship between the treatment (tasting sheet with or without descriptors) and wine sales, controlling for other variables that could influence wine sales.
The authors found that both bottle and dollar sales were higher when tasting sheets without sensory descriptors were used, with dollar sales statistically significant at the 10 percent level. Other variables that impacted wine sales included the specific tasting room, the day of the weekend, and festivals occurring in the area.
Many tasting rooms, particularly in New York, rely on the tasting room for the majority of wine sales. Determining factors that affect sales can help tasting room managers/owners optimize the tasting room experience for maximized profits.
While there have been studies involving the impact of descriptors on sales of food and wine products, these studies have all taken place in a grocery store or restaurant setting where many different brands and varieties are offered. There has been no research studying the impact of descriptors on wine sales in the tasting room, where tasters have a limited selection and an option to sample products before purchasing. There has also been little research studying aspects of tasting sheets.
The authors would like to thank the seven wineries that provided tasting room to participate in the study.
Thomas, L., I. Gómez, M., James Gerling, C. and Katharine Mansfield, A. (2014), "The effect of tasting sheet sensory descriptors on tasting room sales", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 61-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWBR-01-2013-0002Download as .RIS
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