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New wine service launches with ban on baffling wine language

Published:  14 December, 2015

Taste4, a new online wine service, has banned the ten least understood wine words from its marketing, following an extensive consumer survey.

Fewer than 5% of the 2,000 wine drinkers surveyed would use terms such as vegetal, hollow, herbaceous, unctuous, terroir or legs, to describe wine.

The other four words on the banned list - quaffable, tart, nose and bouquet - were only approved by between 10% and 21%.

Taste4 aims to demystify wine for its customers and encourage exploration of new and different wines.

Its research revealed that 25% of wine drinkers find shopping for different or new wines an intimidating experience, and 45% are likely to to stick to familiar grapes, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, when shopping at a supermarket.

Reasons cited for this reluctance to experiment include uninspiring ranges (10%), lack of knowledge about how tastes vary (13%) and a lack of expert advice (18%).

Just 20% of drinkers knew the correct meaning of a "wine with legs", with 33% believing it meant a wine with "a powerful kick". Moreover, 7% thought it derived from an old French phrase for leaving the drinker legless.

Under a quarter (23%) understood the term "terroir" to refer to the natural environment in which a wine is produced. Around 7% believed it referred to "terrible aftertaste", 6% a mass-produced wine killing the market, and 5% terror upon those who drink it. A further 5% thought it referred to a region of origin.

Tom Laithwaite of Taste4 said: "The way we drink wine has become more casual, informal and leisurely but the language wrapped around it hasn't moved with the times.

"People want to learn more about wine and discover new tastes without being confused or awkward when buying it or talking about it with their friends.

"At Taste4, we hunt down smaller, independent wine makers to bring you fresh and exciting wines you won't see on the supermarket shelves, giving consumers the pleasure of discovery and talking about wines on their own terms.

"Every four weeks we send customers a selection of four standout bottles to try. The wines are great and we won't put anyone to sleep by talking about terroir or herbaceousness."

The survey was conducted by OnePoll. It took place in November 2015 and covered 2,000 UK adults who purchase wine.