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Predicting wine preference: testing the premises of the vinotype theory

Carl Peter Borchgrevink (School of Hospitality Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Allan Lewis Sherwin (School of Hospitality Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Article publication date: 21 August 2017




The purpose of this paper is to outline Tim Hanni’s vinotype theory and to test some of the theories foundational propositions. Specifically, this paper tests whether the wine preferences of novice wine consumers can be predicted using novice consumers’ historic and current food and beverage consumption patterns and preferences.


The sample consists of college students at a large Midwest University in the USA with an average age of 21.5 years. Data are collected via focus group (n = 4), a web-based survey (n = 231) and via recorded hedonic responses to food and wines in a controlled lab setting (n = 75). Correlation, regression and factor analyses are performed.


The findings support the vinotype theory. Predicted order and structure was found and near-past consumer consumption patterns and preferences predicted the consumer wine preferences of novice wine consumers.

Research limitations/implications

The use of a convenience sample of college-student wine drinkers from a single university in Midwestern USA limits the paper. While the paper provides support for the vinotype theory, the results are not generalizable to other countries, regions or populations with a different wine-consumption culture. Additional research is necessary to further test and validate the vinotype theory and model.

Practical implications

The support for the foundational propositions of the vinotype theory suggests that it is reasonable to consider adopting the vinotypic approach. Businesses that sell wine can have their sales and service staff use the vinotypic approach to assist consumers in selecting wines the consumer will find delicious. This should lead to customer satisfaction and possible repeat sales/visits. Consumers can use the vinotype theory to develop an understanding of which wines they like and the reason for liking such. Researchers should use this foundational support to test the model outright.


This is a first academic review of the vinotype theory and a first test of the theory’s foundational propositions independent of the theory’s author. This paper is important, as it provides some independent support for the vinotype theory. The vinotype theory provides a basis for increased understanding and clarity in the realm of wine choice and preference.



Borchgrevink, C.P. and Sherwin, A.L. (2017), "Predicting wine preference: testing the premises of the vinotype theory", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 251-268.



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