Chardonnay project launches new research webinars

The research results show that there is definite market opportunity for an array of Chardonnay wine styles – with the help of improved marketing.

Almost 100 people signed up to participate in the first in a series of new wine industry webinars. Held on Tuesday 2 July, the webinar – Consumer Perceptions: The Chardonnay Challenge Research Project – presented the report’s recommendations for industry, as well as providing new industry data for the category.

The webinar was presented by project leader, Dr Anthony Saliba, associate professor of Perceptual Psychology at Charles Sturt University and program leader at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre.

Joining Dr Saliba was Scarborough Wine Company’s national sales and marketing manager Sally Scarborough.

‘I think the format of having a researcher and a practitioner worked really well, it provided a balanced presentation and brought everything back to what is realistic and important in the winery’, Dr Saliba said.

Included in the webinar were some of the latest industry production and sales figures, which had been released a few days earlier as part of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Vintage Report.

The Vintage Report showed Chardonnay accounts for 22 per cent of the total grape crush in Australia, a rise of almost 7% on the 2012 crush. It also accounts for a whopping 45% of the total white winegrape crush – and enjoyed a 6% rise in the average purchase price in 2012–13.

Something of particular interest to Scarborough and many other wine companies, Ms Scarborough told the webinar participants, was the growth in the over $20 segment. Sally showed Nielsen MAT figures from April 2013 that revealed an 8.7% growth in value and 6.4% growth in volume for this price segment in Australia.

‘It shows that there are still a lot of Australian producers with skin in the game, so to speak – yet there remains a persistent ‘talking down’ and negative stereotype of Chardonnay’, Dr Saliba said.

By using the results from a mix of focus groups, tasting sessions, quantitative surveys and experimental work, Dr Saliba used the webinar to explain why it’s time for Australia’s wine industry to have a little more faith in their product.

The Chardonnay Challenge webinar is available for viewing via the Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) website.

The GWRDC’s new Consumer Perception webinars are held in partnership with the WCA and are free to all grape and wine industry levy payers.

The webinars will present the latest research findings on what attributes consumers and potential consumers of Australian wine find desirable, and will explore why consumers choose (or don’t choose) Australian wine.

The next Consumer Perceptions webinar is ‘Turn your website into a virtual cellar door’ and will be presented by Dr Roberta Veale, senior lecturer and program director Master of Wine Business Program at the University of Adelaide’s Business School on Tuesday 3 September.

For more information and to register to attend this webinar online, go to the WCA website. For more information contact Kate Harvey, GWRDC General Manager,

Chardonnay Challenge tasting