Tasting Rooms with No Tasting Notes Sell More Wine
A Cornell University study has found that winery tasting rooms with tasting sheets that don’t include sensory descriptions, sell more wine. The research could be particularly relevant to wineries across the Midwest that rely on tasting rooms for most of their wine sales.
One of the authors, Professor Miguel Gomez, told Vineyard & Winery Management that, ‘The study has raised the issue with tasting room managers that certain kinds of information may work better than others.”
‘The Effects of Tasting Sheet Sensory Descriptors on Tasting Room Sales,” looked at the impact that tasting sheet sensory descriptors have on wine sales. Nine tasting rooms in New York State participated in the study that took place on weekends during a six-week period in July and August 2012. Every second weekend, the tasting rooms swapped tasting sheets including sensory descriptors for those without.
According to the findings, ‘tasting sheets without sensory descriptors increased both bottle and dollar sales, with dollar sales being statistically significant at the ten percent level.” The authors said this is equivalent to a $215.53 increase in sales on any given day.
See related article: Wine Price: No Impact on Midwest Tasting Room Sales
The study’s conclusions said, ‘Complex and unfamiliar sensory descriptors may be intimidating to inexperienced consumers, who may face further frustration if they try a wine based on its sensory description but cannot recognize the same attributes, or if their expectations are not met.”
By contrast, said the authors, ‘The intimate tasting room experience and the idea of tasting room staff as guides may also contribute to the increase in sales without sensory descriptors provided on a tasting sheet. The wine tasting experience, particularly satisfaction with service, has been reported to increase consumer liking and wine purchases.”
For the full study, click here.
Danny: on 9/3 I sent your note on “No Tasting Notes” to all 70 Kentucky wineries.
These are some of the responses:
We are trying this and I will check some numbers. Traffic is certainly up. Another theory is that the Staff focuses more on the customer when they are not concerned with a presentation atmosphere.
2) Excellent thought, I was wondering if the effect could be the difference between heart and intellect sensing. When you are given notes it requires you to use your intellect to determine the flavors, errors, highlights etc. With no notes it is more of an experience and rather it is pleasing or not. The heart always wins.
3) The best tasting notes come from the winemaker.!!
4) I saw this study. Do you have any idea what was meant by sensory information, i.e. sweet, dry, fruity, crisp, nutty, etc.
So you see what I am up against.
Dr. Tom Cottrell
University of Kentucky
Hi Dr Cottrell,
Thanks for retesting the study in Kentucky…a very interesting range of responses! I’m sure the crew at Cornell University will be flattered and pleased too.
all the best
(using MG’s long-in)