The Effect of Tasting Sheet Sensory Descriptors on Tasting Room Sales in New York

Date: 

2012 to 2013

Summary: 

Wineries are changing their tasting sheets as a result of our findings. They are only including objective descriptors in the tasting sheets. The wineries have increased sales performance a a result.

Issue: 

While there have been studies involving the impact of descriptors on sales of food and wine products, these studies have all taken place in a grocery store or restaurant setting where many different brands and varieties are offered. There has been no research studying the impact of descriptors on wine sales in the tasting room, where tasters have a limited selection and an option to sample products before purchasing. There has also been little research studying aspects of tasting sheets.

Response: 

Nine tasting rooms participated in the study that took place on weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) during a six-week period in July and August 2012. Tasting rooms alternated tasting sheets by weekend, one including sensory descriptors and one omitting sensory descriptors. At the end of each weekend, tasting room managers compiled information on daily wine bottle and (in the case of seven wineries) dollar sales. A multivariate statistical model was created to measure the relationship between the treatment (tasting sheet with or without descriptors) and wine sales, controlling for other variables that could influence wine sales.

Impact: 

Many tasting rooms, particularly in New York, rely on the tasting room for the majority of wine sales. Determining factors that affect sales can help tasting room managers/owners optimize the tasting room experience for maximized profits. Our collaborating wineries report that by including only objective descriptors in the tasting sheets, their in-premise sales have increased substantially.

Submitted by: 

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York