Attitudes, Drivers of Consumption and Taste Preferences: A focus on Chardonnay


Chardonnay is an important variety to the Australian wine industry and in recent years its popularity amongst consumers has been questioned. Anecdotal explanations for the decline abound, yet little research has been conducted. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we used qualitative and quantitative methods to determine the reason for any decline in perception. Sensory descriptive analysis confirmed a wide range of flavour styles available in Australia, while preference mapping confirmed that several of the styles were highly liked by consumers; further, all styles had some segments of the market that were ‘followers’, though for the oak-driven style the segment was quite small. While focus groups did point to some negative perceptions about Chardonnay, further experimental and quantitative and qualitative survey work did not. We interpreted the broad range of results from multiple methods as indicating that there was not a negative perception of Chardonnay per se, but that within a peer group situation such as found in focus groups, it had become popular to say negative things about Chardonnay. Our results show that it is time for the industry to start talking positively about the prospects of Chardonnay, especially since the negative perception of Chardonnay reported in focus groups were largely echoed from anecdotal claims found in the popular press. There have been oversupply issues, alongside increased competition from other varieties which need to be taken into account, but our results show a positive future for Australian Chardonnay if flavour styles and size of market segments are taken into account.


Saliba, A. J., MacDonald, J. B., Schmidtke, L. M., & Blackman, J. W. (2013). Attitudes, Drivers of Consumption and Taste Preferences: A focus on Chardonnay. 15th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference, 13–18 July. Sydney, Australia. (Poster)