Monday, June 11, 2012

Characteristics of a "Wine Techie"

Are you a "Wine Techie?" Is there a Wine Techie in your future?  Is there a cure for it?  Well those were some of the questions that raced through my mind as I sat in on a session titled "Who are the Wine Techies" at last weekend's American Association of Wine Economists Conference, held this year at the Princeton University Campus in Princeton, NJ.  The paper, based on a study conducted by Dr. Marianne McGarry Wolf, Mitch Wolf, Leanne Brady, and Hanna Peszynski (Wolf et al.), all of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, concisely framed the study objectives and methodology, defined the identified target, and provided enough of a framework to allow us to recognize this character if we encounter him/her in a dark alley one night.

The stated purpose of the study was to (i) identify a segment of the consumer market that is interested in discussing wine via interactions on social media platforms and (ii) to tease out the characteristics of persons occupying this space to include: demographics, purchasing behavior, positioning, attitudes, and media habits.  The methodology comprised of applying a survey instrument to 382 random respondents in San Luis Obispo and then analyzing the collected data for context.  The survey was applied in San Luis Obispo because it was recently tagged by Demographics Daily (web-only publisher of demographic and metropolitan-level statistical data for all regions of the US) as the best test market of the 3,141 US counties because it is most representative (based on a number of statistical indicators) of the broader US.

After collection of the data, the first order of business was to isolate the target segment from the broader sample.  Individuals were placed into the target segment based on responding "strongly agree" or "agree" to the question: Would you join a website that facilitated discussion about wine and the wine industry?  Persons who responded "positively" to this question were classified as "Wine Techies."  All other respondents were classed as Non-Techies.   The data show that 26% of the sample can be characterized as Wine Techies.  With this breakdown, the team was then able to pursue further analyses of the data, both globally and by segment.

The data show similar Wine-Techie/Non-Techie profiles for income, gender, marital status, and education but that Wine Techies were more likely to be Millenials (49% to 38%) and less likely to have kids (27% to 18%).  Both groups had similar beverage affinities (beer, 79%; wine,100%; sparkling wine, 46%), expenditures on wine ($56.47/month), and wine purchase volumes (4.14 bottles/month), but the Wine Techie purchases were concentrated in the higher price ranges (41% in the $13.50-and-above range versus 28% for the Non-Techies) while Non-Techie purchases led in the price ranges to the south of the Wine Techie sweet spot (73% versus 49%).

When asked to evaluate a set of wine-buying criteria, both the segments and the broader sample identified Good Value for Money and Varietal that I Like as highly desirable characteristics (score in excess of 80 in table below) and Grown using Biotechnology and Having a Screwcap as being the least desirable characteristics (below 60 in the table below).  As shown in the table, there is not a single instance where the Non-Techie group scores a characteristic higher than does the Wine Techie group

In term of attitudes, analyses of the data show that Wine Techies are more likely to (i) enjoy talking about wine with friends; (ii) be foodies; (iii) use a website that provides the latest news about wine and the wine industry; (iv) consider themselves connoisseurs; and (v) get information about wine from phone apps, online magazines, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Open Table.

This, then, is a Wine Techie.  If you see yourself in this profile, then you are a Wine Techie.  And, further, you are not alone.  So thank the folks at CalPoly for helping you find the true you. And then get up out of that chair and go find/convert a fellow Techie.

© Wine -- Mise en abyme


  1. guilty as charged.... I throw myself on the mercy of the bar