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Taste as Market Practice: The Example of “Natural” Wine

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78743-907-8, eISBN: 978-1-78743-906-1

ISSN: 0885-2111

Publication date: 5 February 2018


Purpose: This paper adopts a practice-oriented approach to address gaps in existing knowledge of the significance of cultural producers’ and intermediaries’ practices of taste for the construction and organization of markets. Using the example of the cultural field of “natural” wine, I propose how taste operates as a logic of practice, generating market actions in relation to the aesthetic regime of provenance.

Methodology/approach: The paper sets out the conceptual relationship between aesthetic regimes and practices of taste. The discussion draws from interpretive research on natural wine producers and cultural intermediaries involving 40 interviews with natural wine makers, retailers, sommeliers, and writers based in New York, Western Australia, the Champagne region, and the Cape Winelands.

Findings: Three dimensions of how taste is translated into action are examined: as a device of division, which establishes a fuzzy logic of resemblance; as a device of operation, which provides an intuitive platform for shaping the means of production; and as a device of coordination, which enables an embedded experience of trust.

Originality/value: The paper’s discussion of dispositions, affect, intuition, and pattern identification provide new insights into the translation of taste into action, and the macro-organization of markets. I argue for attention to how cultural producers and cultural intermediaries are mobilized through their habitual sense of taste, shifting the focus away from consumers to those whose market actions are largely self- and peer-referential. This is important for understanding processes of market development and value construction.



Maguire, J.S. (2018), "Taste as Market Practice: The Example of “Natural” Wine", Cross, S.N.N., Ruvalcaba, C., Venkatesh, A. and Belk, R.W. (Ed.) Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 71-92.



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