Contact: Stephany Boettner
Oregon Wine Board
CORE WINE CONSUMERS INTERESTED IN SUSTAINABLE WINES, BUT FIND
THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS CLEARLY MARKED, AVAILABLE
Educational campaign will help consumers easily identify certified sustainable wines SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, May 13, 2008 – Core wine consumers are interested in purchasing
sustainable wines because they want to support producers of sustainable products and because they believe it to be better for the environment, according to a recent study conducted by Full Glass Research in partnership with the Oregon Wine Board. However, many remain confused about exact definitions and certifications; and accessibility is a key barrier to purchase.
Full Glass Research conducted surveys with 954 core involved wine consumers from the Wine Opinions panel and 731 less frequent wine consumers in late 2007 to better understand perceptions of sustainability and purchase motivations among these two consumer sets.
The core involved wine consumer, an estimated 18-19 million consumers who account for three-quarters of wine spending in the United States, is both the key constituency in the U.S. for wines over $10 a bottle and the most promising customer for sustainably produced wines.
“The core involved wine consumer has better knowledge and more precise definitions for the term sustainable than I expected, with 61 percent citing protection of natural resources, more than 50 percent citing minimized synthetic inputs and using only renewable resources, and 43 percent suggesting minimized CO2 or greenhouse gas output,” said Christian Miller, founder of Full Glass Research and
author of the study.
Core involved wine consumers are natural allies of the sustainable movement, due to a significant demographic overlap with leading “green” consumer segments. Nearly one-third of core involved wine
drinkers claim to have purchased sustainably produced wine. They cite multiple reasons for doing so, but are most strongly motivated by concern for the environment and the desire to support sustainable producers, according to the survey.
However they often either do not have access to sustainable wines or lack the tools to identify wines as being sustainable. Roughly half of all wine consumers are unsure of the exact definition of a sustainable wine and one quarter can’t offer any definition at all, the study revealed.
Accessibility remains a major barrier to purchase. While 32 percent of these consumers said they have purchased sustainable wines in the past three months, 49 percent of core wine consumers cite the fact that
they “rarely or never see sustainable wines in the market” as the main reason for not purchasing such
“The leading reason was by far a perceived lack of availability,” Miller said. “If the visibility and identity
issue can be solved, it will go a long way toward making these wines more popular with the key market segment.”
Oregon takes lead with unifying brand, awareness program
A key learning from the study highlights the importance of third-party certification to ensure consumer confidence and transparency. Among core wine consumers, 45 percent agree that many products claim to be green or sustainable without real meaning or backing. Seventy-seven percent agree that “it takes
regulation or certification to really guarantee good environmental practices.”
In partnership with certification agencies throughout the state, the Oregon Wine Board will create a unifying platform and certification logo to help consumers easily identify and purchase sustainable wines. An educational initiative called “Oregon Certified Sustainable” (OCS) will launch in late 2008 with the
goal to increase awareness, communicate the importance and guarantee of certification and encourage distribution of sustainable wines so consumers can access them.
“Consumer awareness of sustainable wines is growing, but it also highlights that there is lingering
confusion in terms of exact definitions and among the various certifications,” said Ted Farthing, executive director of the Oregon Wine Board. “We see this as a critical tipping point and we believe it is our
industry’s responsibility to communicate with consumers in a way that brings clarity and simplicity to a potentially confusing topic. “
The OCS logo will appear on bottles starting with the 2008 vintage.
“We have learned that price and quality are not barriers to trial and purchase of sustainable wines – it’s
accessibility to certified products,” Farthing said. “We hope that by providing a comprehensive
educational campaign for the trade, media and consumers, we will increase interest and availability of these wines in markets worldwide.”
About the Oregon Wine Board
The Oregon Wine Board is a semi-independent state agency that manages marketing, research and education initiatives that support and advance the Oregon wine and wine grape industries. The Board represents more than 370 wineries, 300 independent growers and 17,400 vineyard acres throughout the state's diverse winegrowing regions. For more information about Oregon wine, visit www.oregonwine.org. About Full Glass Research
Full Glass Research performs research and analysis of food and wine industry issues ranging from consumer attitudes to industry structure and economics. Christian Miller, Founder/Proprietor of Full Glass Research, has worked in the wine industry since 1983. Miller is also a founder of the Wine Opinions panel, with John Gillespie. For more information, visit www.fullglassresearch.com and www.wineopinions.com.