Raise your glass: the single-serve wine revolution

two young women drinking wineIncreasing the availability of wines-by-the-glass in restaurants could revolutionise Australia’s $8.7 billion wine industry, revitalising wine sales and creating new opportunities for premium and boutique wines.

In a world first, the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute researchers Professor Johan Bruwer and Dr Justin Cohen have examined risk perceptions among Australian wine consumers, finding that by wine-by-the-glass acts as a risk reduction strategy in a restaurant environment, increasing customers’ propensity to try new and more expensive wines.

“People are keen to try different wines, but they get anxious about buying a whole bottle of a wine that is unknown and untried,” project leader Professor Johan Bruwer says.

“The availability of single-serve-wines helps to overcome this anxiety and encourages customers to be more adventurous with their choices.

“The fact that they do not have to share with anyone, and that less money can be spent per transaction also helps to encourage ‘adventurous’ behaviour, and this can create new opportunities for wine sales growth.”

He says that the challenge for restaurants is two-fold: firstly, to recognise and embrace the benefits that wines-by-the-glass can deliver and secondly, to understand and engage audiences for single-serve wines.

“Wines by-the-glass have been on restaurant menus for some time, but restauranteurs have been hesitant to fully embrace them as they think they’ll cannibalise full bottle sales and restrict profits,” Professor Bruwer says.

“As a result, restaurants generally limit their wine-by-the-glass options to low-cost, fast-selling brands.

“Our research shows that the opposite is true: customers that buy wines-by-the-glass tend to choose different wines to those they’d select by the bottle and this opens an untapped market that restaurants can leverage and capitalise.”

The research also shows that the majority of wine-by-the-glass consumers are female (58%), with the majority in the younger millennial generation of 18-34 years old (52%), most of these having a post-secondary education (74%), and an above national median household income (+ $84K per annum).

“Wines-by-the-glass appeal to the young working generation, mostly comprising millennials, but also including slightly older people, up to 45 years. But the primary target should be millennials; they’re constantly looking for new information, are curious about trying new things, and tend to have the disposable income to afford more expensive wines,” Professor Bruwer says.

He says that engaging this market and the broader customer base will require restaurants to invest in educating their staff about wine and food pairings, as well as providing detailed descriptions of wines-by-the-glass on menus.

“Building the semi-sommelier knowledge of restaurant  staff and creating wine-by-the-glass experiences that pique the interest of consumers are strategies that restaurants can deploy to maximise single-serve opportunities.

“Wine goes hand-in hand with the restaurant experience. It can add to reputation, create higher margins, incremental sales and increased customer benefits.

“It’s a win-win for both restaurants and customers.”

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Contact for interview: Professor Johan Bruwer office: +61 8 8302 0135
mobile: 0420 645 876 email: Johan.Bruwer@unisa.edu.au

Media contact: Annabel Mansfield office: +61 8 8302 0351
mobile: 0417 717 504 email: Annabel.Mansfield@unisa.edu.au

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