Never have Australian consumers had greater access to a diverse range of wine styles, varieties and imported wines.
Australians' enthusiasm to travel abroad especially to European destinations has improved cultural links between food and wine and increased knowledge of different varieties and styles.
As imported wines become more affordable to Australian wine consumers, the market has grown to about 16% in a relatively short period.
Consumers are interested in new products and looking for interesting wines that offer some alternative to the norm.
WA consumers are loyal to WA wines.
Sommeliers and retailers will typically make suggestions based on wine style preferences of the customer rather than varietal preferences.
Consumer drinking habits on-premise are heavily influenced by sommelier/waiter recommendations.
Wines available by the glass allow a greater access to new varieties and wine styles. It allows customers to try a range of wines without investing in a whole bottle. Listing a wine by the glass can be influenced by distributors providing incentive through promotion or discounting.
Wines matching a cuisine can encourage customers to try new varieties, for example Tempranillo and Albarino are recommended to accompany Spanish dishes.
Price and promotion are important drivers of purchasing decisions. Online media is becoming a growing influence and tool.
Alternative varieties are a hard sell but benefit from drivers such as staff recommendations, floor displays and promotions. Retailers have significant influence on purchasing behaviour. For example, promotional point-of-sale activities can effectively shift consumer behaviour from one brand to another.
Knowledgeable staff tend to have success in up-selling. Staff engaging customers one-on-one observe influence of repeat purchases and increasing price point purchases. Sales representatives who educated retail staff and customers through in-store tastings experienced increased sales of alternative varieties.
Distribution and marketing
Sales representatives need to portray confidence and enthusiasm about the wines to the buyer, these wines need an extra push.
Awareness of market segmentation identifies those groups more likely to purchase alternative variety wines, that is, young educated consumers interested in wine. This can provide focus to market strategies and resources.