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Wine study shows locals love the cellar door

by Michèle Nardelli

Wine tasting.A new study into cellar door operations at Australian wineries has shown that most visitors to wineries are Australian locals, with the typical visitor being a female visiting for the first time.

The national longitudinal research, funded through the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and taking in six Australian States and including 15 wine regions, is painting an interesting picture of the cellar door visitor.

“Not only are most of them local, they are also influenced to attend wineries by their own local knowledge and knowledge of the winery brand, and 46 per cent of those surveyed said word-of-mouth recommendation or informal sources influenced their winery visit,” says UniSA Project Leader Professor Johan Bruwer.

In its first stage, the inter-institutional research project involving UniSA’s wine marketing research specialists and colleagues at Charles Sturt University, is based on surveys of 3600 cellar door visitors, at 79 wineries across Australia.

Researchers found the typical cellar door visitor profile is female, a regular wine-drinker, highly educated, has a small household and high income and is far more likely to be from an Australian capital city than another country.

“Only six per cent of the total number of visitors to cellar doors are from overseas, but interestingly almost 60 per cent of all visitors are first-timers, so the cellar door offers real opportunities to impress consumers,” says Prof Bruwer.

“Around 67 per cent of visitors to the cellar doors bought wine to take away, and altogether, 75 per cent of visitors did not leave without buying at least something.”

Researchers also found that many cellar door visitors are also wine club members of the winery visited and/or of other wineries, and overall had a good knowledge of wine brands and some loyalty to them.

“We’re also suggesting there may be an association with buying or trying a particular brand of wine and then visiting the cellar door – so it seems there is a flow between wine brand recognition and the cellar door experience,” says Prof Bruwer.

Those surveyed were mostly regular drinkers consuming mainly red (49 per cent), white (35 per cent), and sparkling wine (10 per cent).