Understanding how wine consumers make their purchasing decisions is a key part of constructing a successful wine list. At Matthew Clark, as well as having our own Insight team, we also learn from external agency reports such as those from Wine Intelligence – Vinitrac. I thought one of their reviews of wine drinkers’ purchasing decisions in informal bars and restaurants (March 2013) summed up the key issues pretty well.
The report found that the two most important cues consumers look for are guidance on what the wine tastes like and from what grape is it made. Grouping wines made from the same grape, within an overall wine list structure organised by style, is definitely a sound option when it comes to communicating the wine offering to customers.
More than half of wine drinkers are influenced by a food and wine match and over a third by a recommendation from the serving staff. I recommend that rather than just providing a short description of the wine, unnecessary in a wine list arranged by style, instead consider including some food and wine matches for middle-tier wines and train staff to use these as recommendations for diners.
A fifth of consumers are influenced into purchasing wines that has won medals or other awards; it is worth including medals where appropriate on your list. Matthew Clark has hundreds of award-winning wines you could select to appeal to these customers.
Other choice cues include country and region – it’s worth making sure that the country appears as part of the wine’s name. Consider well-known wine brands, if of course they are appropriate for the outlet, these are often appreciated by brand-loyal consumers.