What’s the best-known wine region in China? For Chinese upper middle class imported wine drinkers surveyed by Wine Intelligence in 2018, Bordeaux was ranked number one for awareness with a 52 per cent recall. This was followed by Ningxia Province in China and Provence in France. Of Australian wine regions, these Chinese consumers were most aware of Barossa Valley, which came in 13th with 25 per cent recall, Margaret River (17th with 20 per cent recall) and Yarra Valley (23rd with 18 per cent recall).
The same survey of regular wine drinkers in the United States of America (USA) showed that Napa Valley had the highest recall at 73 per cent, followed by Tuscany and Bordeaux. USA consumers were less aware of Australian wine regions than their Chinese counterparts - Barossa Valley ranked 29th with 11 per cent recall and Yarra Valley came in 31st with 9 per cent recall.
There has been minimal change in awareness for the majority of these wine growing regions in both markets in recent years.
Figure 1: Region of origin awareness: Percentage who are aware of the following wine-producing regions
Source: Wine Intelligence
Note: Arrows indicate movement from previous year
Prompted vs unprompted shows a different result
To better understand awareness of our regions outside of those included in the global lists above, Wine Australia engaged Wine Intelligence to conduct bespoke research in July 2018 in China and the USA.
In this survey, Chinese respondents were shown a list of 15 Australian wine-growing regions. In this prompted study, awareness was again greatest for the Barossa Valley (47 per cent), with Hunter Valley (47 per cent) coming in as the next most recognised region, followed by Margaret River (39 per cent) and Yarra Valley (37 per cent). What’s interesting to note is that when respondents were not shown a list of regions (i.e. unprompted awareness), Barossa Valley (44 per cent) was still at the top of the list followed again by Hunter Valley (32 per cent), but in this survey Coonawarra (27 per cent) jumped into third place followed by Southern Australia (19 per cent).
Table 1: Prompted and unprompted awareness of Australian wine producing regions – All China urban upper-middle class imported wine drinkers n=1,000.
When prompted, USA respondents ranked Eden Valley first (22 per cent), followed by Tasmania (18 per cent) out of the list of 15 regions. They were followed by Barossa Valley (17 per cent) and Hunter Valley (16 per cent).
When not prompted, the most recalled regions for USA respondents were ‘[Yellow Tail]’, ‘Sydney’ and ‘Brands’. When only considering wine regions, Barossa Valley was most recognised, followed by Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley then Eden Valley.
Table 2: Prompted and unprompted awareness of Australian wine producing regions - All USA regular wine drinkers n=2,000
How significant is grape variety in choice?
Wine Intelligence also measure consumer choice cues when it comes to selecting wine. Their results indicate that in China, and even more so in the USA, grape variety always comes before region of origin as a choice cue. For China, grape variety was the number one buying choice cue (48 per cent) when ranking the five most important factors and region of origin came fourth (45 per cent). In the USA, grape variety was the number one choice cue (77 per cent) and region of origin was seventh (56 per cent).