Preference for California or Local Wine?
Brad Rickard, Assistant
Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and Director
of Horticultural Business and Policy Program at Cornell University, recently
described his latest research conducted with colleague Robert G. Tobin,
Professor of Marketing, Director of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied
Economics and Management’s undergraduate program, and Director of the Food
Industry Management Program.
two researchers studied local food demand at restaurants to raise a question: What,
precisely, are we asking when we ask consumers if they are interested in buying
local? Wine—being not really perishable and easily transported and sold through
commercial channels—should, in theory, be marketed everywhere.
“In other words, if New York State wines are
just as good as French or California wines, there is no reason why they
shouldn’t be sold at a nice restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska,” said Rickard. “That
they rarely are implies the quality of the wines is not as high as those from
other production areas.”
A national survey of
1,000 wine consumers included an analysis of consumer perceptions of wines from
the four top states — California, Oregon, New York and
evaluated the wines of these states, California stood out in the areas of value
(62%), enjoyment (88%), and future purchase intent (87%). Oregon was assessed
similarly to California in terms of value (58%), and perceived as being a
better value than wines from Washington (52%) or New York (50%),” Rickard
reported. “New York wines ranked lowest in quality compared to all of the other
three states (46%).”
Rickard explained, “When we are asking consumers
would they buy local broccoli, we don’t think the intent of the question is to
ask ‘Will you buy local broccoli even if the quality is not as good as
“We think the premise is that the quality will
be equal, and that the question should be: ‘if we can grow local broccoli that
is just as tasty and delicious as California broccoli, would you prefer it?
Would you pay a premium for it?’ This question can be applied to any produce
item,” said Rickard.
Consumers typically choose pro-local because it
implies it will help enrich the local community and be fresher, less expensive
because of savings in shipping, and better for the environment because of less
shipping and related carbon output.
Wine is not a parity product, so the question is
different. “When we go to the New York Finger Lakes Region, we love to try the
local wines, but that is wine tourism,” explained Rickard. We lean toward
Cabernet, but in the Finger Lakes one drinks Riesling. So the powerful question
with local wine becomes: ‘Is the customer prepared to change his inclinations
in order to buy local?’”
Sources: Jim Prevor’s
Perishable Pundit, Cornell University, The New York Produce Show and
Labels: California wine preference, preference for California or Local Wine? Brad Rickard, Robert G. Tobin, What do we mean when we ask about local?