Women & Wine Surveys Wine Lovers on Buying Wine in Restaurants Provides Details to Industry Already Impacted By the Economy

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Wine Lovers Weigh In On Buying Wine in Restaurants - Want More Interesting Wine By The Glass Offerings, Better Educated Servers and Greater Respect

This was an interesting group

Women & Wine®, http://womenwine.com, the lifestyle community for lovers of wine, food and travel and Full Glass Research, http://fullglassresearch.com, have completed a survey of wine lovers ages averaging 29-44 - men and women - about their wine buying habits in restaurants.

Budgets for eating out in restaurants will very likely be less this year than in 2008, but when people eat out, will they continue to order wine? That's a topic that's of interest to restaurants, winery owners and importers who compete for the more than $12 billion dollars spent by consumers on wine in restaurants.

Women & Wine® CEO Julie Brosterman approached Christian Miller of Full Glass Research about facilitating a survey on wine buying habits in restaurants in order to shed light on women's wine buying habits and wine experiences in restaurants. Brosterman wanted to take it a step further and confirm or refute anecdotal perception that women receive second-rate service at restaurants despite accounting for the majority of wine purchases in the U.S.

Brosterman reached out to the constituency of 40,000 who receive the Women & Wine bi-monthly newsletter as well as the groups that she belongs to on LinkedIn, Wine 2.0, Twitter and Facebook seeking a core group of wine lovers (they identify themselves as such) to participate.

"This was an interesting group," says Miller. "They skewed a bit younger than they typical core involved wine drinker, which is attributable to the fact that the primary source of the recruiting of participants was social networks. Yet not only was this group confident and comfortable in their abilities to choose wine in restaurants, but 72% order wine always or almost always at a sit-down dinner."

And while wine by the glass was purchased more often when the participant only wanted one glass - or in the event that other diners wanted different varietals - 82% said that they were rarely or never offered a bottle selection when three or more people chose glasses of the same varietal.

Shockingly, only 17.1% of respondents said that the server actually listed the name of the wines by the glass or offered assistance on the selection with 32% stating that most often just the varietal was spoken by the server (i.e. we have a chardonnay, a pinot grigio, etc.). And while 71% stated that familiarity with the brand or varietal was an important factor in determining the choice of wine by the glass, 47% were interested in choosing a varietal that complimented what they were ordering and 43% made their selection based on an interest in trying a particular wine or varietal. Only 1 in 4 said that the recommendation of the server influenced their wine by the glass choice.

One of the issues that interested Brosterman was that most participants rarely sent a wine by the glass back if they did not like it while a higher percentage sent the wine back if they thought it was tainted or corked. 74% indicated that they would return to a restaurant with a large selection of by the glass choices of a wide variety especially at the high end price range thus indicating the wine lovers credo that if you want to try an expensive wine before you buy it the best place to do that is at a restaurant.

Turning to the Wine List
When it comes to the wine list, 82% said they are presented with the wine list at least 50% of the time and 25% said that the mere presentation of the list usually triggered an ordering decision. Less than 1 in 5 engaged the server or sommelier in making their selection and yet when they did engage the sommelier most said they were more than satisfied with the selection. These wine lovers looked to a category or varietal when choosing wine from a wine list vs. a specific price range and were more likely not to scan the list for wines they knew thus supporting other research which has shown that wine drinkers have become more experimental.

Seventy percent (70%) of those surveyed indicated that bottle prices were too high and that ordering by the glass was a good inexpensive way to enjoy wine in a restaurant and 32% said they would scale back on their wine purchases in restaurants because of the economy. 55% stated that they are comfortable bringing their own bottle and paying a corkage fee.
72% of the participants in the survey were women who said overwhelmingly that they would continue to patronize restaurants where they received satisfactory wine service but they would like to see women get the same treatment as men (i.e. more attentive and better service). They also stated that when a man is seated with them in the restaurant the man is usually presented with the wine list.61% said that the wait staff presented the bottle to the male at the table even when they (the woman)had ordered the wine.

Of the men who participated in the survey, 78% said they continue to patronize restaurants where they receive satisfactory wine service and 33% stated they had stopped going to restaurants where they had received poor wine service. Additionally, the same percentage of men as women stated that they would like to see women received better treatment when it comes to wine service.

What can be concluded by this study is that while this economy presents challenges to all of us, there is a real opportunity for restaurants to gain loyalty from customers by listening to their requests for more diverse wines by the glass, educating the service staff on the wines and the etiquette of serving them and giving loyal customers an opportunity to bring their own bottle if they choose. If they continue to offer what is perceived by knowledgeable wine lovers as "over-priced" selections on their wine list they will definitely get push back - and perhaps lose potential diners - who, while they understand the math and the madness of the pricing, have little sympathy for the restaurant that is not willing to modify their list based on the current interest in enjoying wine that doesn't break the bank.

About Women & Wine®
Based in Los Angeles, CA, the company is a multi-media lifestyle community and a platform to inspire, entertain and educate lovers of wine, food and travel online and offline. Contributors from around the world - novices and pros - share stories, favorites, travel tips, pics, videos and more. The company produces a weekly radio show on http://www.voiceamerica.com on Thursdays at 2 p.m. Women & Wine Radio whi ch is available for free download from i-Tunes and owns the Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive (yes, in the P-1 valet parking garage), a wine boutique and wine concierge service specializing in small production , hand crafted wines - http://wine-valet.com . The company specializes in creating online and offline campaigns to connect savvy women to brands that they love through content, sweeps, promos - and offline events around the U.S.
For complete details on this survey and for additional information go to http://womenwine.com or email julie@womenwine.com.

About Full Glass Research
Full Glass Research is a research firm that specializes in food and beverage, primarily in the wine industry. Recent projects by Full Glass Research include supply and demand analysis for California wine grapes, a survey of consumer opinions and beliefs regarding organic and sustainable wines, a review of data and academic literature on the impact of macroeconomic conditions on wine consumption and an analysis of the Zinfandel market. Christian Miller, proprietor of Full Glass Research has over twenty years experience in the wine business. He holds an MBA from Cornell University, helped found both the Wine Market Council research committee and the Wine Opinions consumer panel, has taught seminars at U.C. Davis and California Polytechnic and is a frequently requested speaker at industry forums. For further information, visit http://fullglassresearch.com

Editor's note: Additional information from this survey which should be of interest to restaurants, sommeliers, wine and restaurant consultants is available from Women & Wine or Full Glass Research. Please contact us for more details.


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