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Flavour and varietal preference in NZ

This report explores which varietals regular wine drinkers in New Zealand are drinking, which ones are their favourites and which wine descriptors actually appeal to them.

For this investigation, we have divided common wine descriptors into two groups — ‘style’ descriptors and ‘flavour’ descriptors. Style descriptors express the general structure and body of a wine, whether it be crisp, fresh, juicy or bold. Flavour descriptors are those that describe more specific wine characteristics such as tropical fruit or blackberry.

When it comes to style descriptors for white wine, New Zealand regular wine drinkers find style indictors that suggest ‘approachability’ (smooth, easy drinking & fruity) when balanced by ‘fresh & crisp’ indicators the most appealing. This finding is mirrored when it comes to red wine. Drinkers in New Zealand report that red wine is appealing when described as having a balance between an approachable style (smooth, easy drinking & fruity) and fuller flavours (full bodied & rich). In the case of both red and white wine, the appeal of the style descriptors is consistent for both men and women.

When examining the more detailed flavour descriptors for white wine, fleshy, green flavours that are reflective of Sauvignon Blanc, rank as more appealing than descriptors that infer either floral or oaky characteristics. However, male wine drinkers in New Zealand do find tertiary descriptors more appealing for white than women do, suggesting that men are more open to a broader range of white wine styles. In addition, younger drinkers are more motivated by flavour descriptors for white wine in general than older drinkers, indicating their requirement for more guidance when it comes to selecting wine

Favourite Red Varietal


For red wine, although heavier styles of red wine are not as appealing, male wine drinkers in New Zealand do find style descriptors that suggest stronger, heavier style wines (bold and spicy) more appealing than women. These heavier styles of red wine also appeal more to older drinkers in New Zealand, while younger drinkers find lighter red wine styles more appealing. In terms of more detailed flavour descriptors, darker & fuller fruit flavours are the most appealing for red wine amongst drinkers in New Zealand. Overall, younger wine drinkers are more influenced by flavour descriptors for red wine than older drinkers, suggesting they are looking for more description and reassurance when selecting wine and paralleling their view of white wine.

Beverage Infosystems LLC IBWSS


WID 2018