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Consumers are too busy to think about wine

Published:  22 May, 2012

The wine industry's problem is that it thinks consumers care more about their product than they actually do, according to the head of research firm The Source.

Chief executive Paul MacKenzie said: "The brutal truth is that people are busy and have bigger concerns."

When it comes to making purchase decisions about wine, MacKenzie said consumers buy quickly (in a matter of seconds); emotionally and often without even making it to the wine aisle.

When those cutomers get home, the Source's research shows that they often drink on the go - in the kitchen while multi-tasking; they have little time to savour and enjoy the wine and they "barely respect the product". He said often wines aren't chilled or let breathe and sometimes two bottles are mixed together. What's more, MacKenzie said: "A lot of the ceremony and ritual associated with wine is not there anymore - people are drinking it out of tumblers."

The Source aims to help its clients to make wine relevant, accessible and less confusing.

In order to do this retailers need to open up, start telling stories and sell solutions, advised MacKenzie.

To open up it should "focus less on itself and more on the customer" - less about where the wine is from and more about where it's going. In practical terms he counsels that this means less pictures of grapes, of "bottle and glass pornography" and men sniffing glasses. Instead there should be more "aspirational" images of people cooking and drinking wine in a social occasion, or even in front of the TV.

As for selling solutions, MacKenzie accused the wine industry of "selling offers, not wine", which encouraged people almost not to think about the wine, just about the offer.