Next Current project

Context and wine composition effects on Australian wine consumer mood and liking



To improve knowledge and understanding of wine consumers leading to more rapid and faithful delivery of desirable Australian wines. A desirable wine is one possessing the correct sensory attributes, for a particular situation or emotion, as required by consumers in Australia’s major and emerging markets.


The Australian wine sector faces a number of challenges including increasing competition in the global market. In response, the sector needs a superior understanding of which wine attributes consumers like, and which drive their purchases. These consumer insights should feed directly back into industry product improvement and /or new product development cycles. Currently, Australian wine business to wine consumer communication is not optimal and the tools used to obtain consumer information are less than reliable, particularly in relation to measures of intrinsic product quality. Current opinion in consumer/sensory science states that an understanding of the context effects on consumer research results is vital.

Research approach

Repeated measures of consumer preference and quality ratings will be made under laboratory (central location tests), controlled setting (e.g. restaurant, BBQ) and home use tests to identify contextual influences.

Sensory (Descriptive Analysis) and chemical measures will be made of approximately 6 commercial wines from 5 different price points (selected with industry consultation) to obtain detailed sensory and chemical profiles. These data sets will be related to proxy measures of consumer perception of wine quality (e.g. willingness to pay, wine auctions) within different consumer segments as well as with wine expert wine quality measures to define intrinsic sensory attributes of wine. This will enable comparison of consumer versus wine expert wine quality perception drivers. 

Specific aromas/flavours (e.g. floral/vanillin) known to elicit defined emotional responses in consumers based on literature findings and the teams surveys will be added to wines using nature identical compounds. These wines will be characterised using chemical (e.g. GC-MS) and sensory (DA) measures and related to wine consumers’, including groups segmented on emotional responses, quality perception and preference.

Sector benefits

The enhanced understanding of consumers from this study will provide the Australian wine sector the competitive edge, by more effectively producing wines tailored not just for consumer preference but for specific market segments’ emotional / occasion needs, with resulting economic benefits.