Alcohol Drinkers Change Their Attitudes

E. & J. Gallo Winery executive says consumers in ambitious survey want wine to be fun

by Jim Gordon
The KUBE (Knowledge Unearthed for Business Expansion) survey results are based on responses from 23,000 consumers and data from nearly 100,000 purchases and occasions.

Modesto, Calif.—A large-scale survey of alcohol beverage consumers commissioned by E. & J. Gallo Winery turned up an interesting mix of findings that confirmed certain wine business platitudes but also exposed some foundational changes in attitudes.

The KUBE study conducted by Luth Research (www.LuthResearch.com) quizzed 23,000 survey respondents and explored nearly 100,000 alcohol beverage purchase and usage occasions. Participants were recruited via a national online panel between Sept. 5, 2017, and Nov. 10, 2017.

It was not surprising to learn that 73% of wine drinkers think that wine pairs better with meals than any other beverage, but the thousands of wineries trying to expand sales of dry wines might be surprised to learn that 60% of wine drinkers say they prefer a little sweetness. And 66% of consumers in general change their drink depending on where they are and what they’re doing.

Wines & Vines asked the woman in charge of the KUBE (Knowledge Unearthed for Business Expansion) research for her take on the findings. Jennifer Jo Wiseman is vice president of consumer and product insights for E. & J. Gallo Winery. Here are her comments from an email exchange:

Q: What are a couple of the most surprising findings of the KUBE survey, and why?

Wiseman: First, wine occasions are becoming less food-centric and more spur of the moment – the amount of volume coming from non-meal occasions (relaxing, parties, hanging out, etc.) is twice the amount coming from meal occasions. Wine can be a very versatile beverage, but consumers have not been largely educated to think of wine as an option in many non-meal scenarios. Second, two-thirds of consumers move between alcohol types depending on the occasion, higher than was expected. We knew there was little loyalty to brands within the wine category, but we thought there would be stronger loyalty within category usage versus beer or spirits.

Q: What do the survey results show about the difference in the wine market five years ago versus today?

Wiseman: Wine has democratized. Wine is becoming more fun, more casual, and consequently more mainstream. The single biggest attitudinal change has been the marked increase in feeling that wine should be fun. People are more comfortable drinking the wines they enjoy, and they don’t feel like they need to be an expert. Also there is an increased openness to alternative packaging, particularly various box sizes at higher price points, tetra and particularly cans.




Q: Can you provide a couple of insights about how drinkers at all income levels are spending their discretionary income on luxury wines?

Wiseman: We expected to see that the prevalence of luxury wine drinkers ($50+) would raise stepwise with income. Yet we see a consistent percentage of people being luxury wine consumers at income levels lower than $100,000, as we do at over $100,000. It’s not until one reaches income over $250,000 annually that we see an increase in luxury wine prevalence.



Q: What does the survey indicate about whether Millennials are bringing wine sales growth that can offset an eventual decline in Boomers consumption?

Wiseman: We have seen an increase in Millennials who enjoy wine frequently, however we know that Millennials enjoy a broad repertoire of alcohol beverages. Over time, we will see how their drinking habits evolve.



Q: Can you point to a couple of current Gallo brands that are riding the waves documented in the survey?

Wiseman: LaMarca is a leading sparkling brand driving the trend towards sparkling wine enjoyed in more every day occasions in an approachable easy to enjoy style. Barefoot Spritzer cans are driving the trend towards flavorful, refreshing wines in portable and easy to use packaging which are great for outdoor or on the go occasions where wine historically has not been a part of.


Posted on 07.31.2018 - 09:05:45 PST
Great insights and information for the future of wine! Thank you E&J Gallo Winery