BIO Web of Conferences
Volume 5, 201538th World Congress of Vine and Wine (Part 1)
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Economy and Law|
|Published online||01 July 2015|
The role of tasting in the purchasing process
Independent researcher, Amsterdamsestraatweg 699BA, Utrecht, The Netherlands
In the Netherlands, it is forbidden by law to taste and sell wine in the same room, even if the buyer only places an order for delivery and no actual exchange of money and wine takes place, with the exception of licensed liquor stores. Wine traders, tastings and events are disadvantaged by this law. Wine tastings where consumers can buy or order wine are officially forbidden, even in a licensed liquor shop. The law makes no distinction between the act of “tasting” and the act of “drinking” wine. This raises the question whether tasting equals drinking or not, and what the role of tasting entails in the process of purchasing and consuming wine.
This seems even more relevant considering the current trend that consumers not only want to buy a product, but have a complete “experience”. They want to feel the product, and in the case of wine they want to smell and taste it. In addition, wine lovers do not just want to purchase a wine of good quality, but they also want to tell the story of the wine and interpret the flavour. And what better way of doing that than to let the consumer taste the wine with guidance of the seller, who knows the wine and its flavour and story?
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of tasting in the process of purchasing and consuming wine. The study seeks to establish whether tasting should be considered part of the purchase process or whether it is part of the consump- tion. Furthermore, it is exploring the role tasting has in the process of purchasing and consuming wine and the possible risks and benefits of tasting for the seller. The conclusions can be used to advise the Dutch government concerning their policy regarding alcoholic beverages.
Approach – This paper is an exploratory study. The data are collected through literature review in the fields of wine research and marketing and consumer behaviour. It combines relevant theories in the aforementioned fields to define and re-evaluate available data and common assumptions in order to generate new insights.
Findings – Wine tasting can be defined as “the looking at, smelling, and tasting of wine, in order to assess the quality of the wine”, and is part of the purchase process. Tasting is a key aspect of the purchasing decision for a majority of wine buyers. The role of tasting in this process is mostly risk-reducing due to the information and reassurance the tasting provides. Possible ben- efits for sellers such as retailers and restaurant owners are that consumers perceive less risk and therefore are more likely to spend more money. Other benefits include that consumers are more likely to select a wine that they are unfamiliar with, and that they are more receptive to the advice of the seller.
Research implications – The findings of this research suggest that wine tasting may have a more important role in the purchase process than many may realize. The understanding of these findings could ultimately lead to more sampling in the wine shop, and it could become as important to the consumer as it is for shoppers to try on new clothes before buying them. Although findings are tentative due to the exploratory nature of this study, they may provide useful insights to the Dutch government, and the wine and restaurant industry, who would benefit from further (field) research.
Value – This study is of value to the Dutch government and the wine lobby, because it demonstrates the difference between wine tasting and drinking. It also has value for restaurant owners, the wine industry, and the academic world, because it highlights an important aspect of consumer behaviour with regard to wine purchases.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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