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Wine consultants match wine drinkers to wine bottles. That is the core of your work. You probably know all the important stats about your wines. But, how much do you know about the person drinking the wine? If you know more about your tasters, you will be more successful at making good matches between tasters and bottles.

In this article we discuss how segmenting your tasters can help you match them to your wines more easily. Using the two approaches described below, you can match your marketing and your wines to their tastes and their buying preferences in a way that is sure to increase your revenue.

Marketing

Defining who your taster is will make marketing your events easier. You’ll know what language will bring that specific taster through the door for each and every event you host. It will also make selling to them easier. You will know that you’ve picked wines that are a good match. Each section of this article covers the kind of language you should use for different kinds of tasters. 

The first step in defining your taster is to segment by taste preference or palate type. Next, you will segment by buying preference.

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Research suggests that wine palates generally fall into four categories: sweet, hypersensitive, sensitive and tolerant.

The sweet type

The sweet category is self-explanatory. This person only enjoys sweet wines. But the wines must be light as well. Stay away from syrupy or heavy wines. Instead, think off-dry sparkling wines and light off-dry whites.

This group likes light, zippy, fresh, and fruity wines. But, they must be sweet. Build this kind of language into your invitations and marketing. Use pictures that show wines that will make tasters think of these kinds of wines. Show food pairings that will go with these wines. This will intrigue the sweet group.

Expect this drinker to have specific opinions about other aspects of the wine, including the flavors present, temperature and other characteristics. Of the four types, this one is the pickiest. So, you’ll do well to know who they are in advance. Although they have strong opinions, they do tend to be newer to wine tasting. So, this is more of a social or leisure experience for them more than a wine experience. 

To add an added level of experience. Try wine cocktails with them. Perhaps offer different flavored ingredients that they can add to their wines as they taste.  A personalized, sweet wine will put a smile on this person’s face.   

This type also enjoys salty foods. Salty cheeses, nuts, pickles, and chips of all sorts are right up this taster’s alley. Salted butter, dips, and pates also make good pairing choices. 

The hypersensitive type

Hypersensitive wine drinkers also prefer clean and crisp wines. But, they must be dry. Dry whites, crisp rosé, and young reds with little to no oak are best for these tasters. High acid wines also work for this group.

Market to these folks with words that represent their tastes. The language will be similar to the words for the sweet group: zippy, fresh, fruity. But be sure your potential tasters know that the wines you will serve will be dry. The pictures should also match their expectations of what’s being served.

As their name suggests, these tasters are hypersensitive, and not just about wine flavors. This carries over into other aspects of the wine tasting experience. Avoid sensory overload in light, temperature, music, food. You want this taster to be able to focus their developing palate on the wine without distraction. 

This drinker is also opinionated about wine but is more open to exploring new wines. The opportunity here is to find a crisp and clean varietal that they’ve never experienced before. You might also try a vertical tasting of one of the wines you know they’ll love. 

For pairings and bites during the tasting, stick to more neutral foods. Unsalted crackers, nuts, and neutral cheeses are good choices. If heavier foods are needed, these tasters might enjoy lightly seasoned fish, pate and uncured and unsmoked luncheon meats. Fresh vegetables are also a winner. 

Sensitive

Tasters in the sensitive group are perhaps the easiest to attract. Most tasters fall into this category. And, they enjoy wines across the spectrum and are eager to explore them all. These are the tasters you invite when you are pushing boundaries and trying new things. But they might also attend a tasting in one of the other categories.

The sky’s the limit with these tasters. So, dream up something new and fun. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Sensitive tasters prefer flexibility. So, build in room for improvisation at your tastings. 
  • Can you add a game-like quality to the tasting? Or maybe there’s are unusual wine and food pairings you can try. 
  • Unusual side-by-side pairings or all together unusual wines will delight these folks. 

Tolerant tasters

Tolerant tasters want powerful, full-bodied and full-flavored red wines. High alcohol also helps. If you can find wines over 15%, they will likely enjoy them. This is the kind of language you should use to attract this group.

There’s has to be growth in a tasting, usually from lighter to heavier. So, focus on lighters wines that are just beginning to develop meaty, coffee, tobacco notes. Peppery notes are also a favorite among this group.

This is a great group to invite to a tasting focused on aged wine. The mature flavors in the wines are what they are looking for, versus a fresh a fruit forward glass. The nutty and caramelized notes in fortified reds such as port and oxidized wines such as sherry or Madeira might also fit the bill. Just be sure they aren’t too sweet.

It’s probably no surprise that red meat is a good pairing for this group. But, so are other strong flavors such as blue cheese, mushrooms, and smoked white meats.

Now that you know about palate groups, let’s cover the different ways people prefer to buy wine. There are many studies that segment wine buyers. But at VineTutor, we use the Genome segments. There are 6: image seekers, engaged newcomers, enthusiasts, everyday loyals, price driven and overwhelmed.

Image Seekers see wine as a status symbol. They will be drawn to impressive brands, wines from famous places and up and coming wines that they can debut with their friends. While they may have basic wine knowledge, consider them learners over experts. So, don’t be afraid to educate them about the wines. According to the segmentation, this group tends to be male, young and prefers Merlot.

This should affect how you market the event and the wines you highlight. Trendy and masculine language will suit this group. It’s also likely that this group will enjoy wines in the tolerant category.

Engaged newcomers know very little about wine. They are just getting started as tasters and want to learn more. So, feel free to educate this group too. Share your wine knowledge liberally. This group also tends to be younger. So, using generationally appropriate language will be important to attract these tasters.

Enthusiasts know more about wine than the two groups we discussed so far. You won’t need to educate them about wine basics as much. But you can still indtroduce them to wines that excite them, that they may not have tasted so far. Unlike Image Seekers, these tasters are less concerned about wine brands and marketing. What’s in the glass matters most. But, ratings do help convince them. Your opinion about the wine, as the consultant will matter, as will those of celebrity raters and wine competition awards. Have information about these on hand.

Image seekers, enthusiasts and newcomers are the best buying segments to attract. They spend the most per bottle over the remaining three buying segments. They spend $12, $13 and $13 again, respectively. The remaining groups spend $10, $9, and $8 respectively.

Focusing on the first three groups will increase your revenue per taster. Also, it’s unlikely that an overwhelmed wine drinker or one that’s already loyal to other brands would be very interested in attending a tasting, let alone buying a wine they are unfamiliar with.

It’s also worth noting that complex flavor descriptions reduce the number of bottles that people buy. It’s likely that there will be some discussion of the flavors and aromas your tasters are experiencing. But, keep these descriptions simple. Your job is to match your tasters palate with the wines you have on offer. If your flavor description doesn’t match their expectation or their interests, they won’t buy that wine.

To have a successful and profitable wine tasting event, you should take into account the tasting preferences and the buying preferences of your audience. Will you do a sweet wine tasting for enthusiasts or a tolerant wine tasting for newcomers? It’s your choice. But you should choose the segment that you can serve the best.

Niching down your tasting events will make them more appealing to potential buyers. Each group you host a tasting for will recieve a personalized experience that matches their preferences perfectly. You’re no longer hosting generic wine tastings. You now have a tasting with a solid theme that will induce tasters to buy. You could even create a series of wine tasting events that they’ll be sure to attend.

Once you know which groups you can serve best, you can even start creating content for each group separately. You can create targeted marking with info on the wines that they will love and in terms that excite them.

Adding this level of detail might seem daunting at first. But it will add immense value to your business. It will make advertising easier. It will make you stand out with your customers. And it will make coming up with new ideas on how to sell much easier.

Check out our palate matching tool to see which varietals suit each type. There are over 150 varietals to choose from, filtered by tasting style. You will likely find a few matches here that will surprise your. But more importantly, will surprise your tasters. 

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