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Upselling Millennials one glass of wine at a time

Wine

Selling wines by the glass in restaurants is an effective way of tempting Millennials to try new and more expensive wines, research has found.

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The University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute researchers Professor Johan Bruwer and Dr Justin Cohen examined risk perceptions among Australian wine consumers and found customers were more inclined to try new and more expensive wines if offered wine-by-the-glass in a restaurant.

The researchers also found that the majority of wine-by-the-glass consumers were female (58 per cent), with the majority in the younger Millennial generation of 18-34 years old (52 per cent), most of whom had a post-secondary education (74 per cent), and an above-national-median household income (+ A$84K per annum).

“Wines by the glass have been on restaurant menus for some time, but restaurateurs 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 who 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.”

Professor Bruwer says people are keen to try different wines but can become anxious about investing in an entire bottle they don’t know. He says the availability of single-serve wines helps to overcome this anxiety and encourags customers to be more adventurous with their choices.

“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.”

Increasing 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, Professor Bruwer says.

He says engaging this market would require restaurants to invest in educating 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.”

This article was first published on The Lead.

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