Cheers to Wine Marketing

Why branding is important

In a Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute and Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University study from 1991-2006 there was an

“Unmistakable trend: the better the recognition rating a wine brand received, the more likely it was to survive. No such link existed between quality evaluations and a brand’s success.”

When I talk to business owners and speak at conferences about creating a new wine brand, one thing I always try to emphasize is making sure their brand is differentiated from other wine brands. What does this mean?

It means knowing what makes your brand different and promoting those benefits to a very specific target market.

On paper this concept makes sense to business owners, but I think to better understand this clearly it helps to see how different brands target 6 different wine consumers.

By understanding your customers you can better target what they identify in a brand as unforgettable and what wine marketing promotions will appeal to them. Are they only drinking wine at happy hour? Do they prefer to pair their wines with dinner? Are they a Mom who likes one glass of wine after the kids are in bed?

Branding = positioning your company as the expert and people come to you.

First, let’s dive into the 6 different wine consumers.

Constellation Brands, the world’s largest wine seller, did a study in 2008 called Project Genome surveying the purchases of 10,000 premium-wine consumers–defined as those who purchased wine priced at $5 and higher–over an 18-month period.

While previous wine studies have been based on what people remember buying, this study tracked the ACTUAL purchases of Nielsen Co.’s Homescan® consumer purchase panel, which employs in-home bar code scanners and surveys to map consumer buying behavior across a demographically balance.

This study was further updated in 2014 with additional research, giving us the below 6 wine consumers.



1. Overwhelmed

  • By number of choices
  • Like to drink wine, but don’t know what to buy
  • May select by wine label design
  • Want easy to understand info in retail
  • Open to advice, but frustrated if no one is in the wine section to help
  • If confused, won’t buy anything

2. Image Curator

  • Status symbol
  • Are just discovering wine
  • Have basic wine knowledge
  • Like to be the first to try new wine
  • Open to innovative packaging
  • Prefer Merlot
  • Check restaurant wine lists online and research scores
  • Millennials and Males

3. Enthusiast

  • Entertain at home with friends
  • Consider themselves knowledgeable about wine
  • Like to browse wine sections at stores
  • Live in cosmopolitan centers, affluent suburban spreads or country setting
  • Influenced by wine ratings and scores
  • 47% buy wine in 1.5L as “everyday wine” to supplement their “weekend wine”

4. Everyday Loyal

  • Like wine from established wineries
  • Prefer to entertain at home
  • Wine makes occasion more formal
  • When I find a brand I like, I stick with it
  • Wine is part of my regular routine

5. Price Driven

  • I believe you can buy good wine without spending a lot
  • Price is top consideration
  • Shop in a variety of stores to find the best deals
  • Use coupons & know what’s on sale ahead of time
  • Typically buy a glass of the house wine when dining out, due to the value

6. Engaged Newcomers

  • Don’t know much about wine, just like to drink it
  • Young = Millennials
  • Wine is part of socializing
  • Interested in learning more about wine

Knowing which of these is your target wine consumer can take the guess work out of what your brand should look like and what wine marketing programs will succeed for your business.

3 Examples

This post is part of a series on how three different wine brands target  different wine consumers. Read the other posts here:

Part 1: How Mark West targets everyday loyal wine consumers

Part 2: How Uproot Targets Millennials

Part 3: Branding Case study: How Xo,G targets Mom wine drinkers