I’m in the middle of prepping for the next stage of my wine diploma, a case study exam on March 10. We have to answer a question on how consumers choose wine. (That’s not too broad or anything.) I think we’re supposed to talk about different marketing channels, PR, social media, and the like, but what I’m really interested in is: how do YOU choose wine? What are the factors that make you decide to pick up a certain bottle? From my years working in wine retail and my experience with this blog and my classes, I’ve seen a few types emerge. These are pretty tongue-in-cheek, but I am serious about this — I would love to hear from you about how you choose wine. Leave some comments, people!
1. The Fine Arts major. She (and yes, it’s always a she) buys wine based on how pretty the label is. As I’ve mentioned before, I have zero problem with this. Personally, I have a penchant for dog labels. On the one hand, it’s a little silly and superficial, plus it’s no guarantee you’re going to get a good bottle of wine. On the other hand, we make decisions based on appearances all the time, so why should wine be any different?
2. Daddy Warbucks. He (and yes, it’s always a he) is looking for the most expensive bottle he can possibly afford, usually to impress his girlfriend or his boss. He judges success by how much he spends rather than how much he enjoys the bottle. If you’ve got the cash, more power to you. My only gripe with these folks is that they help keep a lot of bad wineries making incredibly overpriced wines in business.
3. The tongue-tied taster. If she can’t pronounce it, she won’t buy it. I totally get this one — frankly, I think it’s one of the reasons I don’t buy German or Austrian wines as often as I should. If you don’t speak the language, it’s harder to ask for, and connect with, the wine.
4. The loyalist. He chooses by…not choosing. He has his go-to white, his go-to red, and never veers from them. With all the wines in the world (250,000 US wines alone, according to some of the research I’ve been doing) this is the hardest one for me to understand.
5. The sentimental favorite. She loves California Cabernet because she went to Napa for her honeymoon. He fell in love with Argentine Malbec after he spent that semester in Buenos Aires. This type chooses a wine based on all the personal associations that come with it. This one describes me, particularly when I’m picking a wine for a special occasion. I love choosing bottles from places I’ve been — or places I want to go.
But that’s just me. What about you?