Inﬂuence of Wine Education on Wine Hedonic and
Conﬁdence Ratings by Millennial Wine Consumers
of Different Ethnicities
Margaret A. Cliff 1,*, Masoumeh Bejaei 2, Marjorie C. King 1and David A. J. McArthur 3
1Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland Research and Development Centre,
Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0, Canada
2Sustainable Agriculture Program, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Richmond, BC V6X 3V8, Canada;
3Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada;
*Correspondence: Margaret.Cliff@agr.gc.ca; Tel.: +1-250-494-6365
Academic Editor: Miranda Mirosa
Received: 20 September 2016; Accepted: 14 November 2016; Published: 23 November 2016
Consumer wine preferences are not well understood. Anecdotally it is believed that
preferences evolve over time, from sweet whites to full-bodied reds, as consumers become more
experienced and familiar with wine. However, little is known about the change in wine preference
or conﬁdence with education and training. This research explored changes in consumers’ hedonic
and conﬁdence ratings for ﬁve commercial British Columbian (BC) wines (Ehrenfelser, Chardonnay,
rosé, Pinot noir, Cabernet-Merlot) over a 12-week education/training period. Consumers (
completed a wine survey and evaluated the wines during the ﬁrst and twelfth week of a university
wine course, consisting of wine education and sensory training. Consumers provided hedonic
(degree-of-liking) and conﬁdence (degree-of-sureness) ratings for the visual, aroma and ﬂavor
characteristics of the wines, on 9-point and 5-point scales, respectively, before and after the 12-week
wine course. Consumers were classiﬁed by gender (female, male), age and ethnicity. Kruskal Wallis,
Mann-Whitney, Friedman, Wilcoxon Signed Rank and Chi-square tests and Spearman correlation
coefﬁcients were used to explore the effects of education/training on hedonic and conﬁdence
ratings. In general, consumers’ hedonic (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) ratings increased signiﬁcantly
with education/training for the white and rosé wines (Ehrenfelser, Chardonnay, rosé) over the
12-week period. In contrast, consumer conﬁdence increased substantially for all wine types. Surveys
revealed, for the three largest subgroups of consumers (North American (NA), n= 38; European (EU),
n= 31; Asian, n= 54), that NA and EU consumers had signiﬁcantly higher frequency-of-purchase,
frequency-of-purchase of Canadian wine, frequency-of-consumption and self-rated wine knowledge
than Asian consumers. However, Asian consumers were willing to pay more for a bottle of wine
compared to NA and EU consumers. This research provided insight into the millennial consumers
and explored the nature and magnitude of changes in hedonic and conﬁdence ratings with wine
wine education; wine hedonic rating; wine conﬁdence rating; millennial wine consumers;
Consumer preferences for food and beverages are a complex interaction of sensory (taste, odor,
texture, etc.) and non-sensory (origin, brand, etc.) factors [
]. These factors are important components
in the development of consumers’ appreciation of and subsequent purchases and consumption of wine.
Beverages 2016,2, 32; doi:10.3390/beverages2040032 www.mdpi.com/journal/beverages
Beverages 2016,2, 32 2 of 17
Interestingly, wine preferences and appreciation often have a multigenerational component,
where patterns of behavior and knowledge are passed from older family members to younger family
members, as part of the sociocultural norms [
]. These sociocultural norms establish the foundation
for the consumers’ familiarity, expectations and attitudes about wine. It has been observed that in
European countries such as France, Spain, Germany and Italy, consumers are exposed to wine at an
early age as part of social, dietary and cultural traditions. Often young children in these European
countries may be given a small amount of wine with meals regularly at early age, in order to include
children in the family traditions.
Since the drying, bitter, astringent and alcoholic sensations associated with wine are often rejected
on inception by children and neophytes [
], adults dilute their children’s wine with water to minimize
any adverse responses. Both children and adults learn to accept the sensations with repeated exposure,
peer pressure and positive reinforcement [
]. The frequency of exposure and/or time frame for
acquisition of acceptance is likely to be highly variable and dependent upon diversity within the
many factors mentioned above. Consumers learn iteratively through their diverse experiences and
progressively adjust their expectations and acceptance level with each experience.
In some countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and India, the consumption of wines is
not typically part of the sociocultural norm. Therefore, wine knowledge and appreciation must be
acquired through a proactive approach. One option may be for consumers to seek wine information
and/or wine education classes in order to understand how to select a wine for consumption, special
occasions or gift giving.
As North America (NA) has become increasingly multicultural, young consumers in NA are
from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Consumer research has been conducted to explore the inﬂuence of
cross-cultural differences and evaluate consumers’ attitudes, preferences and beliefs in order to gain
insight into the marketplace [
]. Do et al. [
] documented that the French consumed wine primarily for
the sensorial pleasures and the emotions it may evoke, while Vietnamese participants consumed wine
primarily for social, prestige and medicinal reasons. Hence, there may be strong cultural inﬂuences,
however, differences in consumption patterns might be linked also in part to physiological differences
in sensitivity to bitterness [6,7] or alcohol .
Consumer preferences are inﬂuenced not only by the sensory stimuli (aroma, taste, ﬂavor) but
cognitive information (packaging, brand, vintage, appellation, country-of-origin) [
have evaluated the effects of intrinsic characteristics of wine (e.g., grape variety, alcohol content,
region-of-origin), as well as the extrinsic characteristics (e.g., price, packaging, brand, closure type)
in order to understand/model consumer wine selection [
]. Such market research may quantify
consumers’ responses at a given point in time and provides some insights, but often cannot address
completely the dynamic nature of wine preference .
Although the food industry is constantly developing new products to meet consumers’ needs,
the wine industry is just exploring how this may be done [
] in order to be more successful in the
marketplace. With the changing demographics and sociocultural inﬂuences in the North American
marketplace, there is a need for the wine industry to better understand the needs and preferences of
consumers. In particular, there is little formal quantitative information on the type and change in wine
preferences in response to wine education and sensory training. Moreover, it is not well understood
how and when such training may inﬂuence consumer wine preferences over the short and long term.
Therefore, the goal of this preliminary research was to evaluate the inﬂuence of wine education and
training on wine hedonic (preference) and conﬁdence ratings of a diverse group of young consumers
at the beginning of their putative early development period of wine consumption. This research was
implemented using a collection of ﬁve British Columbian (BC) wines and young wine consumers,
who were registered in a 12-week wine education course.
Beverages 2016,2, 32 3 of 17
2. Materials and Methods
Five BC commercial wines (Ehrenfelser, Chardonnay, rosé, Pinot noir, Cabernet-Merlot) were
evaluated. These wines were selected to represent ﬁve distinctly different wine styles (sweet white,
dry white, rosé, light red, full-bodied red) available in the marketplace. All wines were BC-VQA
wines and were defect free. They were approximately equal in quality and similar in price,
($17.95/bottle–$22.95/bottle), expressed in Canadian (CDN) dollars. The rosé wine was prepared from
a blend of Gamay and Ehrenfelser. The white and rosé wines were from the 2007 vintage and had an
alcohol content of ~11%–12%; whereas the red wines were from the 2006 vintage and had an alcohol
content of ~13%–14%, as reported on the wine labels. The sweetness of the wines using the BC Liquor
Board sweetness code (1–10) [
] was as follows: Ehrenfelser, 2; Chardonnay, 0; rosé, 2; Pinot noir, 0;
Cabernet-Merlot, 0. The codes of 0 and 1–2 corresponded with residual sugars of 0–5 g/L (very dry)
and 5–25 g/L (off-dry), respectively. All wines were purchased from the BC Wine Information Centre
(Penticton, BC, Canada) and stored at 15 ◦C until required.
Participants for the study were recruited from the registrants (n= 178) in an undergraduate
University of British Columbia (UBC) wine science course (FOOD 330) held January to April 2008.
Participation was voluntary and no incentives were given. The course consisted of one 2-h lecture
and one 1-h tasting session per week. The lecture material provided an overview of: wine history,
viticulture and terroir, enological practices, aroma and ﬂavor description, wines of the world and the
role of wine in society and health. The laboratory provided hands-on familiarity with ~2–3 wines
per week, for a total of 10-weeks. It exposed students to a broad range of “old” and “new” world
wines including sparkling wines, white and red varietal wines, red blends and dessert/specialty
wines. While the course was 12-weeks in duration, the students were exposed to a total of ~7-h of
formal wine tasting training; however, they were encouraged to practice on their own. Assessments
took place as part of the regular laboratory sessions, in the ﬁrst (week 1) and twelfth week (week 12)
of the semester. The assessments were overseen by experimenters and teaching assistants, who
implemented the experimental protocol in eight laboratory sessions, consisting of 15–25 students each.
Each participant was given a consumer number, which was used to uniquely and conﬁdentially
identify their questionnaires.
2.3. Experimental Design/Sensory Protocol
All wines were tasted using a standardized tasting protocol adapted from Baldy [
were seated at individual stations to complete the questionnaires and conduct the assessments. Each
station was equipped with a rinse cup, spittoon and ﬁve International Standards Organisation (ISO)
wine glasses labeled with random color codes. Prior to the assessments, wine samples (30 mL) were
poured by the experimenters into the ISO glasses at the tasting stations and arranged according to
a completely balanced design (n= 50) [
]. A balanced design ensured that each wine was tasted in
each position the same number of times. The exact protocol was used for the initial (week 1) and ﬁnal
(week 12) assessments, with the exception that new random (color) codes were utilized in the ﬁnal
assessment and glasses were placed in a different random orders.
Prior to the wine education (week 1), participants completed a wine survey and two sensory
ballots (hedonic, conﬁdence). The assessment in the twelfth week was identical to that in the ﬁrst,
with the exception that consumers did not ﬁll out another wine survey. A total of 133 students
completed the survey and both ballots.
Beverages 2016,2, 32 4 of 17
2.4.1. Wine Survey
The wine survey consisted of four demographics questions. Participants identiﬁed their gender
(female, male) and age (<21 years, 21–23 years, 24–27 years, >27 years) by checking the appropriate
categories. Since there was an extremely low number of participants in the upper age category
(>27 years), consumers in this age category were combined with those in the 24–27 years category.
Consumers also identiﬁed their ethnicity (country-of-family-origin). Responses were categorized as
follows: North America (Canada, United States of America), Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy,
Spain, Poland, Romania) and Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia,
Japan, Philippines, Singapore) and the remaining 10 respondents were classiﬁed as “other”. There were
only three respondents from Middle East and seven respondents from South/Central America; due to
insufﬁcient numbers these consumers were dropped from the tests involving ethnicity. Consumers
also identiﬁed their faculty of study (Art, Science, other). Preliminary evaluation of the data revealed
that age, gender and faculty were not a signiﬁcant source of variation and were dropped from further
Consumers indicated their frequency-of-selection for each of the wine types (full-bodied red,
light red, dry white, sweet wine, sparkling, dessert, rosé) on a 5-point scale with the following
categories: “never”, “rarely”, “sometimes”, “often” and “most-of-the-time”.
Consumers answered survey questions relating to their frequency-of-purchase, frequency-of-
consumption, willingness-to-pay and wine knowledge on 5-point scales. The response options for these
variables .were as follows: frequency-of-purchase (“rarely”, “1–3
/year”), frequency-of-consumption (“rarely”, “1–3 glasses/month”, “1–2 glasses/week”,
“3–4 glasses/week”, “>5 glasses/week”), frequency-of-purchase of Canadian wine (“rarely”,
/year”), willingness-to-pay (price/bottle)
(“<$10/bottle”, “$11–$14/bottle”, “$15–$18/bottle”, “$19–$23/bottle”, “>$23/bottle”) and wine
knowledge (“limited knowledge”, “slightly knowledgeable”, “moderately knowledgeable”, “highly
knowledgeable”, “extremely knowledgeable”).
Consumers also were asked to provide reasons for their wine consumption (“social”,
“part-of-a-meal”, “other”), indicate if they were aware of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA)
Program and specify if they knew difference between wines labelled “produced from grapes grown in
Canada” and those labelled “bottled and cellared in Canada” and if they had prior wine education,
on 3-point scales.
Survey questions were quantiﬁed by assigning numerical values to the responses, as per the
number of response categories. Since most of the underlying variables (frequency-of-consumption,
frequency-of-purchase, willingness-to-pay, wine-knowledge, wine education) were ordinal in nature,
data were analyzed by non-parametric statistics.
2.4.2. Sensory Ballots (Hedonic and Conﬁdence Ratings)
Sensory ballots consisted of a 9-point hedonic (degree-of-liking) and 5-point conﬁdence
(degree-of-sureness) ordinal scales. Participants were asked to provide hedonic assessments for
the following wine characteristics: (i) visual appearance; (ii) aroma and (iii) ﬂavor. The 9-point
scale consisted of the following categories: “dislike extremely, “dislike highly”, “dislike moderately”,
“dislike slightly”, “neither like nor dislike”, “like slightly”, “like moderately”, “like highly” and “like
extremely”; whereas the 5-point conﬁdence scale was anchored with: “not sure”, “slightly sure”,
“moderately sure”, “highly sure” and “extremely sure”. The use of conﬁdence scales in combination
with hedonic scales has not previously been reported in the literature; however, it was hoped that such
an approach would introduce a new perspective in the understanding of wine preferences. Consumer
ballots were identiﬁed as before and after wine education (week 1, week 12), consumer number (1–133),
age (<21 years, 21–23 years, >23 years), gender (female, male), ethnicity and faculty, as described above.
Participants who did not respond to the classiﬁcation criteria were dropped from the data set.
Beverages 2016,2, 32 5 of 17
2.5. Statistical Analysis
2.5.1. Wine Survey
Consumer demographics were collected on all consumers; however, more detailed statistical
analyses were conducted on the largest subgroups of consumers (North American (NA), n= 38;
European (EU), n= 31; Asian, n= 54). Response frequencies were tabulated for each of the survey
questions: frequency-of-purchase, frequency-of-consumption, willingness-to-pay, wine knowledge,
wine education, aware-of-VQA and knowledge-of-labeling, and expressed as percent. Since the
survey scales were categorical in nature, Chi-square tests (
) were utilized to evaluate the pattern of
responses among subgroups of consumers with different ethnicities. For ordinal variables, response
frequencies were evaluated for NA, EU and Asian consumers using Kruskal Wallis tests, followed by
Consumers’ frequency-of-selection for the different wine types was evaluated using a Friedman
test followed by a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test. The frequency-of-purchase of different wine types,
for consumers from different ethnicities, was also evaluated using Kruskal Wallis tests followed by
Spearman correlation coefﬁcients (r
) were calculated to investigate the relationship between the
level of wine knowledge of consumers prior to taking the wine course to their hedonic and conﬁdence
ratings, frequency-of-purchase, frequency-of-consumption and willingness-to-pay for wines in week 1
of their wine training.
2.5.2. Sensory Ballots: Hedonic and Conﬁdence Ratings
Non-parametric statistics were used to analyze the data from the hedonic and conﬁdence scales.
This is consistent with the fact that the scales are described as ordinal in nature [
]. While examples
can be found in the literature, where researchers have applied parametric statistics to 9-point hedonic
scale data, they have done so at the expense of violating the underlying assumptions [
normality tests were performed; they conﬁrmed the non-normality of the data (data not shown). In fact,
non-parametric statistics are not necessarily less powerful than parametric statistics, particularly when
the assumptions of parametric tests are not met .
Kruskal Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests were used to evaluate the effects of faculty, gender
and age on the hedonic and conﬁdence ratings. Due to the non-signiﬁcant results (data not shown),
the variables faculty, age and gender were dropped from further statistical evaluation. Without age
and gender as variables, the ethnicity variable was used to evaluate the effects of wine education
on the hedonic (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) and conﬁdence (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) ratings using Wilcoxon
Signed Rank tests, for each of the ﬁve wines. Mean hedonic and conﬁdence ratings were plotted on
cobweb-like diagrams. To aid in visualization, the minimum and maximum values for the axes were
adjusted [hedonic scale (min. = 4, max. = 8); conﬁdence scale (min. = 2, max. = 5)].
Means and standard deviations were reported for all variables associated with the survey and
sensory ballots. All statistical analyses were conducted using the PASW Statistics software (IBM SPSS
Statistics, Version 20.0, IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA).
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Wine Survey
3.1.1. All Consumers
Consumers in the research were 65.4% female (n= 87) and 34.6% male (n= 46). Sixty-seven percent
(n= 77) were between the ages of 21–23 years of age, with an additional 11.4% (n= 13) and 21.1%
) under 21 or over 23 years of age, respectively. The country-of-family-origin for the consumers
was: 43.9% Asia (n= 54), 30.9% North America (n= 38), 25.2% Europe (10.6% United Kingdom (n= 14),
6.8% Western Europe (n= 9), 6.1% Eastern Europe (n= 8) and 7.5% other [5.3% Central/South America
Beverages 2016,2, 32 6 of 17
(n= 7), 2.2% Middle East (n= 3)]. It should be noted that the NA, EU and Asian consumers in this
research refer to the participants’ country-of-family-origin or ancestry. Such a classiﬁcation established
the participants’ ethnicity, without confounding it with their residency or citizenship. However, such a
classiﬁcation did not differentiate participants by the length of time they or their family had resided
outside their ancestral homeland.
Sixty-one percent of consumers reported they had “limited knowledge” about wine. Another
9.4% of consumers reported they had “moderate knowledge” about wine; this was the highest level of
wine knowledge reported by consumers prior to taking the wine education course. Twenty-six percent
of consumers reported that they “never” or “rarely” consumed wine. Consumers in this research had
wine consumption that was substantially below the reported national average (7.8 liters/year) [
Approximately one-third (37.6%) of consumers reported consuming “1–3 glasses/month”, while
an additional 21.8% consumed wine “1–2 glasses/week”. Fifty-six percent of consumers stated
they consumed wine for “social reasons”, while 37.7% stated they consumed wines primarily as
Consumers varied considerably in the type of wine selected (Table 1). In general, rosé and dessert
wines were selected least frequently, with the majority of consumers (69.0% and 61.4%, respectively)
selecting these wines either “never” or “rarely”. Sparkling wines were also selected infrequently, with
55.6% of consumers selecting them “never” or “rarely”. Light red and dry white wines were selected
more frequently than rosé wines, with consumers’ responses distributed amongst the “never”, “rarely”,
“sometimes” and “often” categories (Table 1).
Table 1. Consumers’ frequency-of-selection for different wine types.
Consumers Frequency of Response (Percent) a
Wine Type n
Numerical Score for Category
Mean c,d Standard
1 2 3 4 5
Never Rarely Sometimes Often Most-of-the-Time
Rosé 126 36.5 32.5 19.0 9.5 2.4
Dessert 127 28.3 33.1 18.1 13.4 7.1 2.38de 1.23
Sparkling 126 22.2 33.3 25.4 13.5 5.6 2.47d 1.14
Light red 127 21.3 23.6 26.0 22.8 6.3 2.69cd 1.22
Dry white 124 16.1 23.4 25.0 24.2 11.3 2.91bc 1.26
Sweet white 128 16.4 25.0 21.9 13.3 23.4 3.02ab 1.41
129 13.2 20.9 15.5 18.6 31.8 3.35a 1.44
Percent of consumers for each type of wine;
Friedman test value followed by *** indicate signiﬁcance at
mean values arranged in ascending order;
mean values followed by different superscripts (a–e)
are signiﬁcantly different (p≤0.05) according to the Wilcoxon Signed Rank test.
In contrast, the response pattern was very different for the sweet white and full-bodied red wines.
Consumers selected sweet whites either “never” or “rarely” (41.4%) or “often” or “most-of-the-time”
(36.7%) (Table 1). This apparent split response suggested that there may have been two subgroups
amongst the consumers tested—those who frequently and those who infrequently consumed sweet
white wines. This result is consistent with the fact that, there was also a group of participants (50.4%,
n= 65), who indicated that they selected red wines “often” or “most-of-the-time”.
3.1.2. North American, European and Asian Consumers Only
Response frequencies to the survey questions were signiﬁcantly different for the Asian (n= 54),
European (n= 31) and North American (n= 38) consumers (Table 2). NA and EU consumers purchased
wine more frequently, with means of 4.32 and 4.00 respectively, than Asian consumers with a mean
rating of 1.98. This difference is reﬂected in the response distributions (Table 2), with 63.2% of NA
and 58.1% of EU consumers purchasing wine “>10
per year”, compared to 75.9% of Asian consumer
who purchased wine either “rarely” or “1–3
per year”. Consumers from all groups (NA, EU, Asian)
purchased wines of Canadian origin less frequently than wines from other countries, as reﬂected by
the mean responses of 3.34, 2.08 and 1.52, respectively (Table 2).
Beverages 2016,2, 32 7 of 17
Table 2. Frequency of responses to survey questions for consumers of different ethnicities.
Consumer Ethnicity No. of
Consumers Frequency of Response (Percent) b
Wallis Test c
Numerical Score for Category
Q1. Frequency-of-purchase Rarely 1–3×/year 4–6×/year 7–9×/year >10×/year
North America 38 2.6 5.3 13.2 15.8 63.2
Europe 31 9.7 9.7 9.7 12.9 58.1 4.00a 1.41
Asia 54 44.4 31.5 14.8 0.0 9.3 1.98b 1.21
Q2. Frequency-of-consumption Rarely 1–3
North America 38 5.3 31.6 36.8 13.2 13.2
Europe 31 3.2 35.5 35.5 19.4 6.5 2.90a 0.98
Asia 54 53.7 38.9 3.7 3.7 0.0 1.57b 0.74
Q3. Frequency-of-purchase of Canadian wine Rarely 1–3×/year 4–6×/year 7–9×/year >10×/year
North America 38 13.2 26.3 10.5 13.2 36.8
Europe 30 23.3 26.7 20.0 6.7 23.3 2.80a 1.49
Asia 54 63.0 27.8 5.6 1.9 1.9 1.52b 0.84
Q4. Willingness-to-pay (price/bottle) e<$10/bottle $11–$14/bottle $15–$18/bottle $19–$23/bottle >$23/bottle
North America 37 2.7 32.4 43.2 10.8 10.8
Europe 30 3.3 33.3 40.0 13.3 10.0 2.93b 1.02
Asia 52 0.0 11.5 38.5 30.8 19.2 3.58a 0.94
Q5. Wine knowledge limited
North America 36 38.9 44.4 16.7 0.0 0.0
Europe 30 46.7 43.3 10.0 0.0 0.0 1.63a 0.67
Asia 52 82.7 11.5 5.8 0.0 0.0 1.23b 0.55
Classiﬁcation by country-of-family-origin was as follows: North America (Canada, United States of America), Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania) and Asia
(China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore). This classiﬁcation established ethnicity of the participants, without confounding it with
their residency or citizenship;
percentage of consumers within group;
Kruskal Wallis test values followed by ** and *** indicate signiﬁcance at p
0.01 and p
Means with different superscripts (a–b) are different (p
0.05) according to the Mann-Whitney test;
the prices listed (<$10, $11–$14, $15–$18, $19–$23, >$23/bottle) are those
utilized at the time of the survey (2008) and correspond to ~<$11, $12–$16, $20–$23, $22–$26 and >$26/bottle in 2016 dollars, respectively.
Beverages 2016,2, 32 8 of 17
As shown on Table 2, Asian consumers purchased and consumed (
xconsumed = 1.57
wine less frequently than EU (
= 2.90) and NA (
xconsumed = 2.97
) consumers. However, Asian consumers were willing to pay signiﬁcantly (p
more for a bottle of wine (
= 3.58; $15–$23/bottle) than EU and NA consumers (
$11–$18/bottle); these values correspond to ~$17–$26/bottle and ~$12–$20/bottle, when converted
to 2016 CDN dollars using an online calculator [
]. Close examination of the response frequencies
(Table 2) suggested that 69.3% of Asian consumers would pay this higher price, while an additional
19.2% were willing to pay more than $23/bottle, corresponding to >$26/bottle in 2016 CDN dollars
NA and EU consumers indicated that they were “slightly” to “moderately” knowledgeable about
wine; whereas, the majority of Asian consumers (82.7%) reported their knowledge to be “limited”
(Table 2). This was consistent with the fact that a higher proportion of Asian consumers (96.2%) had not
previously taken some type of wine education, compared to NA (75.7%) and EU (89.7%) consumers.
This, in combination with the fact that a large portion of these Asian consumers “rarely” purchased or
consumed wine, reﬂected that the Asian participants in this research were a particularly novice group
of consumers; such ﬁndings were conﬁrmed with the course’s instructor.
The ethnicity of the respondents and their reasons for wine consumption were not independent
from each other [
(2, n= 120) = 17.21, p
0.01]. Asian consumers indicated they consumed wine
primarily for “social reasons” (65.4%) and to a lesser extent as “part-of-a-meal” (34.6%). EU consumers
also consumed wine for “social reasons” (63.3%) and as “part-of-a-meal” (26.7%). In contrast, NA
consumers were more likely to consume wine as “part-of-a-meal” (52.6%) compared to consuming
it for “social reasons” (34.2%). Such ﬁndings are consistent with Olsen et al. [
] who report that
American consumers agree highly with the statement that “wine ﬁts better with food”.
A higher percentage of NA and EU consumers (59.5% and 53.3% respectively) were aware of
the Vintners Quality Assurance (VQA) program for Canadian wine, compared to Asian consumers
(2, n= 121) = 7.93, p
0.05]. NA and EU consumers were more likely to be aware (42.3%
and 45.2%, respectively) of the difference between wines “made from grapes grown in Canada” and
those “cellared and bottled in Canada”, compared to Asian consumers (17.6%) [
(2, n= 122) = 9.64,
NA, EU and Asian consumers also differed signiﬁcantly in the frequency-of-selection of the
different wine types (Table 3). The mean responses for the NA consumers for the full-bodied red,
light red and dry white wines were 3.95 (“often”), 2.81 (“sometimes”) and 3.11 (“sometimes”),
respectively. The mean responses for the EU consumers for the same wine types were 3.47, 3.10
and 3.55, respectively, corresponding to ratings between “sometimes” and “often”. These responses are
all higher than the responses from the Asian consumers, which were 2.92, 2.27 and 2.41, respectively,
corresponding to ratings between “rarely” and “sometimes” (Table 3). However, the EU consumer
response, for frequency-of-selection of full-bodied red wines, was not signiﬁcantly different from
either the NA or Asian consumers. Upon examination of the frequency distribution, a relatively large
sub-group of NA consumers (44.7%) selected full-bodied reds “most-of-the-time”. Again this suggests
there might have been a sub-group of more experienced wine consumers who participated in the
study. In contrast, Asian consumers mean responses for the dessert and sweet white wines were
3.00 and 2.92, respectively (Table 3). These responses were signiﬁcantly higher than the responses
by the NA consumers (
xdessert = 2.14
= 2.61). Such responses are consistent with the fact
that Asian consumers, as well as female and younger consumers typically prefer white wines [19,20].
Asian consumers also selected dessert wines (
= 3.00) more frequently than EU consumers
xdessert = 1.76
), but their selection of sweet white wines (
= 2.92) was not signiﬁcantly
different from that of EU consumers (
= 3.43) (Table 3). In contrast, rosé and sparkling wines
were selected at a similar low frequency by NA, EU and Asian consumers, as reﬂected by the mean
response that were not signiﬁcantly different (p> 0.05) (Table 3). Similar results were reported for rosé
and sparkling wines for US and Australasian consumers .
Beverages 2016,2, 32 9 of 17
Table 3. Frequency of selection of different wine types for consumers of different ethnicities.
Category Consumer Ethnicity No. of
Consumers Frequency of Response (Percent) c
Wallis Test d
Wine Type aCountry-of-Family-Origin bn
Numerical Score for Category
1 2 3 4 5
Never Rarely Sometimes Often Most-of-the-Time
North America 36 36.1 38.9 16.7 8.3 0.0
Europe 30 23.3 50.0 16.7 3.3 6.7 2.20 1.06
Asia 51 47.1 17.6 21.6 11.8 2.0 2.04 1.17
North America 36 27.8 36.1 30.6 5.6 0.0
Europe 29 37.9 48.3 13.8 0.0 0.0 1.76b 0.69
Asia 53 18.9 22.6 15.1 26.4 17.0 3.00a 1.40
North America 36 16.7 33.3 44.4 5.6 0.0
Europe 30 23.3 43.3 13.3 16.7 3.3 2.33 1.12
Asia 50 28.0 24.0 18.0 18.0 12.0 2.62 1.38
North America 36 19.4 22.2 25.0 25.0 8.3
Europe 30 6.7 20.0 36.7 30.0 6.7 3.10a 1.03
Asia 51 33.3 29.4 17.6 15.7 3.9 2.27b 1.20
North America 36 11.1 22.2 25.0 27.8 13.9
Europe 29 3.4 13.8 27.6 34.5 20.7 3.55a 1.09
Asia 49 26.5 30.6 22.4 16.3 4.1 2.41b 1.17
North America 36 19.4 41.7 16.7 2.8 19.4
Europe 30 6.7 20.0 26.7 16.7 30.0 3.43a 1.30
Asia 52 21.2 21.2 23.1 13.5 21.2 2.92ab 1.44
North America 38 5.3 10.5 13.2 26.3 44.7
Europe 30 6.7 20.0 23.3 20.0 30.0 3.47ab 1.31
Asia 51 19.6 27.5 15.7 15.7 21.6 2.92b 1.45
Wine types arranged as in Table 1;
classiﬁcation by country-of-family-origin was as follows: North America (Canada, United States of America), Europe (UK, France, Germany,
Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania) and Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore). This classiﬁcation established ethnicity of the
participants, without confounding it with their residency or citizenship;
percentage of consumers within group;
Kruskal Wallis test values followed by *, **, *** indicate signiﬁcant
at p≤0.05, p≤0.01 and p≤0.001, respectively; emeans followed by different subscripts (a–b) are signiﬁcantly different according to the Mann-Whitney test at p≤0.05.
Beverages 2016,2, 32 10 of 17
3.1.3. Correlation between Prior Wine Knowledge and Purchase/Consumption Frequencies
The consumers’ level of wine knowledge was positively correlated, at p
0.05, to wine purchase
= 0.51, n=133), wine consumption frequency (r
= 0.49, n= 133), but not willingness-to-pay
(rs=−0.09, n= 133).
For Asian consumers, where wine is not traditionally part of their culture, there was a positive
correlation between their level of wine knowledge and their wine purchase frequency (r
and consumption frequency (r
= 0.47, n= 54) at p
0.05. In contrast for NA consumers, there was
a positive correlation between their level of wine knowledge and their purchase frequency (r
), but not with their wine consumption frequency (r
) at p
0.05. Whereas for EU
consumers, where wine is traditionally part of their culture, there was not a signiﬁcant correlation
between consumers’ level of wine knowledge with either their wine purchase frequency (r
) nor with their wine consumption frequency (r
) at p
0.05. Frøst and Noble [
report that differences among individuals can be large and are more important than mere wine
knowledge in determining wine preferences. However, much remains to be understood, particularly
in relation to how consumers of different ethnicities use subjective versus objective knowledge .
3.2. Sensory Ballot: Hedonic Ratings
3.2.1. Effects of Education and Wine Type
Consumer preferences were inﬂuenced by wine education and wine type (Table 4). Interestingly,
hedonic visual ratings did not change signiﬁcantly over the 12-week training period, except forthe
Chardonnay wine (
= 7.15) (Table 4). This increase was believed due to the fact that
consumers learned to recognize the distinctive golden color of the oaked Chardonnay and appreciate
it more. Such ﬁndings are consistent with Cardello [
], who reported that consumers adjust their food
acceptability (ratings) to match their new or existing expectations. This lack of change of the visual
preferences for the other wines, suggests visual characteristics may simply not be as relevant to wine
consumers, who are believed to be more interested in aroma and ﬂavor characteristics.
In contrast, the mean hedonic aromas and ﬂavor ratings did change signiﬁcantly over the 12-week
educational period (Table 4). Consumers’ aroma and ﬂavor hedonic ratings increased for the white
(Ehrenfelser, Chardonnay) and rosé wines, (Table 4), but not the red wines (Cabernet-Merlot, Pinot noir)
at p≤0.05 (Table 4).
The high hedonic ﬂavor ratings for the Ehrenfelser and rosé wines (Table 4) were attributed to
their “pleasant” fruity sweet characters. It was not surprising the rosé wine evoked a similar response
as the Ehrenfelser wine, since this wine was a blend of Gamay and Ehrenfelser wines. In contrast,
the low hedonic ﬂavor ratings for the Chardonnay wine (
= 5.15) (Table 4) were attributed to its
relatively dry, oaky characteristics. While these characteristics are representative of this type of
wine, they are often less appealing to novice wine consumers [
]. The greatest increases in hedonic
ratings over the training period were observed for the sweet fruity wines (Ehrenfelser, rosé) (Table 4).
This suggested that consumers’ preexisting preferences for sweet and fruity wines were enhanced
after their education/training—possibly due to their newly acquired aroma/ﬂavor recognition skills.
While the consumers’ degree of improvement was not evaluated, such a metric could be included in
In general, the hedonic aroma and ﬂavor ratings were lower for the red wines than white/rosé
wines, on the ﬁrst and twelfth week (Table 4). Possibly the young consumers found the aromatics for
the white/rosé wines more “pleasant”, compared to those of the red wines. While this may have been
due to the speciﬁc aromas and ﬂavors of the wines evaluated, it might also have been attributed to fact
that red wines with their different balance or type of aroma/ﬂavor complexity, were more difﬁcult for
novice consumers to evaluate. For example, the Cabernet-Merlot wine had a more forward (dominant)
oak character that could have obscured or masked the underlying fruit aromas. Consumers might also
Beverages 2016,2, 32 11 of 17
have anticipated the presence of bitterness, astringency and/or alcoholic sensations that could have
dampened their hedonic ratings.
Mean hedonic and conﬁdence ratings for each wine characteristic (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) for
each of the ﬁve wines, for all respondents, before and after wine education.
Education (week 1)
Education (week 12) Wilcoxon
Rank Test a
Deviation Mean Standard
Visual Ehrenfelser 133 6.53 1.57 6.64 1.48 −0.78
Aroma Ehrenfelser 133 6.63 1.69 7.41 1.51 −4.50 ***
Flavor Ehrenfelser 124 6.31 1.83 7.07 1.15 −3.93 ***
Visual Chardonnay 133 6.56 1.49 7.15 1.25 −3.84 ***
Aroma Chardonnay 133 6.13 1.84 6.84 1.51 −3.66 ***
Flavor Chardonnay 124 5.31 1.85 5.96 1.67 −3.08 **
Visual rosé 134 6.13 1.89 6.25 1.82 −0.03
Aroma rosé 133 6.44 1.72 6.86 1.59 −2.32 *
Flavor rosé 122 5.84 2.03 6.51 1.50 −2.86 **
Visual Pinot noir 132 6.92 1.63 7.05 1.58 −1.20
Aroma Pinot noir 132 5.91 1.81 5.84 1.93 −0.42
Flavor Pinot noir 115 5.33 2.17 5.32 2.08 −0.19
Visual Cabernet-Merlot 133 6.74 1.41 6.50 1.52 −1.88
Aroma Cabernet-Merlot 132 5.99 1.68 5.95 1.86 −0.03
Flavor Cabernet-Merlot 117 5.09 2.11 5.26 1.89 −0.60
Visual Ehrenfelser 133 3.64 0.96 4.30 0.72 −6.46 ***
Aroma Ehrenfelser 133 3.73 0.94 4.35 0.67 −6.40 ***
Flavor Ehrenfelser 122 3.59 1.00 4.25 0.73 −6.08 ***
Visual Chardonnay 132 3.67 0.95 4.34 0.66 −6.49 ***
Aroma Chardonnay 133 3.62 0.89 4.31 0.62 −7.05 ***
Flavor Chardonnay 119 3.62 0.86 4.27 0.74 −6.20 ***
Visual rosé 133 3.69 1.05 4.32 0.76 −6.04 ***
Aroma rosé 133 3.71 0.94 4.33 0.65 −6.70 ***
Flavor rosé 121 3.50 0.97 4.24 0.72 −6.21 ***
Visual Pinot noir 132 3.67 0.97 4.30 0.74 −6.29 ***
Aroma Pinot noir 132 3.52 0.99 4.29 0.70 −6.95 ***
Flavor Pinot noir 115 3.50 0.92 4.26 0.69 −6.75 ***
Visual Cabernet-Merlot 133 3.65 0.93 4.27 0.69 −6.17 ***
Aroma Cabernet-Merlot 132 3.53 0.97 4.19 0.73 −6.34 ***
Flavor Cabernet-Merlot 117 3.68 0.93 4.15 0.62 −4.82 ***
Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests followed by *, **, *** indicate signiﬁcance at p
The results are consistent with Lesschaeve [
] who found that sweet wines are preferred
by consumers when evaluations are conducted without extrinsic clues (wine label information).
Lesschaeve  also suggested that the lower hedonic rating for red wines might be in part due to the
method of evaluation, since red wines are usually consumed with food.
Regardless of the explanation, consumers’ hedonic ratings for the red wines were unchanged
over the 12-week period, despite the participants’ improved ability to discern and identify the
aromas/ﬂavors. The ﬁndings, nevertheless, are consistent with the fact that modiﬁcation of food
preferences are difﬁcult to change [
] and that the appreciation of a wine with a bitter and/or
astringent characters would require repeated exposure, under positive and pleasant conditions [
Possibly the time period and frequency of exposure to the red wines were simply too short to promote
an enhanced appreciation. Although wine education has been identiﬁed as a primary catalyst for a
change in preference [
], there was no evidence in this research to suggest that consumers would
shift their preferences from one style to another (e.g., sweet white wines to dry oaked red wines).
Nevertheless, the ﬁndings are consistent with Frøst and Noble [
] who showed that individual
Beverages 2016,2, 32 12 of 17
preferences’ play a larger role in determining wine liking (hedonic ratings) than mere level of wine
knowledge or the ability to describe a wine (sensory expertise).
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that consumers might “trade-up” and purchase a wine
of higher quality (higher price), as the direct result of their newly acquired wine knowledge and/or
involvement with wine tasting [
]. Jaeger et al. [
] reported that consumers with greater
involvement with wine were more likely to rely on their knowledge (grape variety, brand, region)
rather than the merchandizing (pricing, advertising, packaging) to select a wine. To this end, the wine
education provided in this study would likely add to these consumers’ cumulative positive wine
experience and contribute to changes in wine preference in the long term .
3.2.2. Effects of Ethnicity, Education and Wine Type
Signiﬁcant differences in hedonic ratings (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) were observed among consumers
of different ethnicities, before and after wine education (Figure 1A,B). While little or no differences
were observed for the white and rosé wines, signiﬁcant differences were observed for red wines
NorthAmerican European Asian
NorthAmerica European Asian
Mean hedonic ratings (degree-of-liking, max. = 9) before (
) and after (
) 12-weeks of
wine education/training, for North American, European and Asian consumers. Means identiﬁed
with an asterisk (*) are signiﬁcantly different (p
0.05) according to Kruskal Wallis tests followed
by Mann-Whitney tests. Tests were conducted on each wine characteristic (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) for
each of the ﬁve wines. The minimum and maximum axes values were speciﬁed as four and eight,
respectively, to aid in visualization.
In general, Asian consumers had lower means ratings for the red wines compared to NA
consumers, who were similar to the EU consumers, with few exceptions—as exempliﬁed by the
mean ratings for Cabernet-Merlot and Pinot noir by Asian (
= 5.55) and
NA (xCabernet-Merlot = 6.25, xPinot noir = 6.72) consumers.
These results are consistent with the ﬁndings of Somogyi et al. [
] who reported that Asian
consumers prefer sweet wines—even those adulterated with lemonade, over dry wines. Interestingly
NA and EU consumers have similarly high ratings for the sweet fruity wines, but were more accepting
of the full-bodied red wines (Figure 1A,B). Such ﬁndings are consistent with data provided by the
demographic wine survey (Table 3), that there were possibly two subgroups of NA and EU consumers:
those who frequently selected “sweet white” wines and those who frequently selected “full-bodied
red” wines. These lower hedonic ratings for the red wines by the Asian consumers might be attributed
to their lack of familiarity (Table 2), but possibly also due to their heightened sensitivity to bitterness,
astringency  and alcohol [8,30].
Hedonic visual ratings for the wines did not differ signiﬁcantly for the majority of consumers,
between the ﬁrst and twelfth week of wine education, as shown in Figure 2A,C,E, for NA, EU and Asian
Beverages 2016,2, 32 13 of 17
consumers, respectively, with the exception of Chardonnay for the NA consumers. This suggested that
hedonic aroma and ﬂavor ratings were more readily affected by wine education.
Mean hedonic ratings (degree-of-liking, max. = 9) and mean conﬁdence ratings (degree-of-
sureness, max. = 5) for North American (
), European (
) and Asian (
) consumers, before
and after 12-weeks of wine education/training. Means identiﬁed with different superscripts (a,b) are
0.05) according to the Wilcoxon Signed Rank test. Tests were conducted on each wine
characteristic (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) for each of the ﬁve wines.
After wine education/training, the Asian consumers generally showed a greater number of
signiﬁcantly higher ratings for aroma and ﬂavor for the white and rosé wines than did the NA
consumers, who showed more than the Europe consumers.
Interestingly consumers did not change their hedonic aroma and ﬂavor ratings for the red wines,
after wine education/training, regardless of their ethnicity (Figure 2A,C,E), with the exception of the
aroma ratings for Cabernet-Merlot for the EU consumers. The ﬁndings are consistent with the fact
that consumers in this research were relatively young (early 20s) and had, on average, accumulated
very limited experience in wine tasting, despite the fact that they had received 12-weeks of theoretical
and practical wine training. However, these ﬁndings do support the work of Taylor et al. [
reported the preferences of a red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon), evaluated on a 5-point semantic scale
from “like very little” to “like very much” (n= 78), were unchanged after an 8-h wine education
Beverages 2016,2, 32 14 of 17
class, that consisted of four 2-h wine training sessions. Therefore the following question remains
unanswered: “What is the duration and intensity of education/training necessary for the acquisition of
red wine preferences?” Such a timeline is believed to be particularly relevant in the context of training
and accrediting wine professionals such as sommeliers.
3.3. Sensory Ballots: Conﬁdence Ratings
Consumers’ conﬁdence in their hedonic ratings increased signiﬁcantly with wine education/
training, for all wines and wine characteristics (visual, aroma, ﬂavor) (Table 4). Responses were
dependent on the ethnicity of consumers, as shown in Figure 2B,D,F for NA, EU and Asian consumers,
respectively. On average, conﬁdence increased slightly more for the Asian consumer (
xafter = 4.2
) (Figure 2F) than the NA consumers (
= 4.4) (Figure 2B), with an
incremental change (
) of 0.7 and 0.6, respectively. For these consumers, the incremental change
was similar for all wines and wine characteristics, as evident from the symmetry of the concentric
circles in Figure 2B,F. In contrast, the incremental changes in conﬁdence for the EU consumers were on
average greater for the red wines (
= 0.8) rather than the white/rosé wines (
= 0.6), as evident from
the asymmetry of the concentric circles in Figure 2D. Although little is known about the basis for such
differences, an individuals’ conﬁdence is thought to be dependent on personality traits [
] and the
]. The greater the familiarity with the task-at-hand the greater the consumers’ certainty
in the decision making process [
]. As such, this research is the ﬁrst of its type to document an increase
in consumers’ conﬁdence associated with their hedonic ratings as the result of wine education/training.
This is in contrast to research in the literature that reports an increase in consumer conﬁdence with
wine education/training, as the result of an enhanced ability to understand labels and make informed
purchase decisions .
3.4. Correlation between Prior Wine Knowledge with Hedonic/Conﬁdence Ratings
In this research, Asian consumers had lower hedonic and conﬁdence ratings for wine; however,
they also self-professed to be less knowledgeable and to be less experienced with wine in comparison
to their NA and EU counterparts (Table 2). Therefore, it was desirable to evaluate the role of prior
wine knowledge on the hedonic and conﬁdence ratings, using Spearman correlation coefﬁcients.
Prior wine knowledge was positively correlated with conﬁdence ratings (r
= 0.17–0.36, n= 133) at
0.05 (detailed results not shown). This suggested that consumers, in general, were more conﬁdent
about their wine preferences as their knowledge increased—even when their wine knowledge was
“limited” to “moderate”. As such, the results are consistent with ﬁndings of Barber et al. [
suggested that experience with a product builds conﬁdence, regardless if the actual product knowledge
Moreover, prior wine knowledge was positively correlated with the hedonic ratings, but only for
red wines (Pinot noir, Cabernet-Merlot) (r
= 0.19–0.35, n= 133) at p
0.05 (detailed results not shown).
This suggested that wine knowledge played a particularly important role in the appreciation of red
wines—which are typically dry and may be more complex than white wines. Barber et al. [
that what consumers actually “know” about wine is more related to their wine experience, than their
objective (learned) wine knowledge. Anecdotally, consumers who have acquired a preference for
“big red wines” are more likely to be male and think of themselves as connoisseurs [
justiﬁable or not.
Johnson and Bastian [
] classiﬁed their 61 Australian consumers by their level of wine expertise,
using a combination of a wine knowledge test and an aroma identiﬁcation (sensory) test. They found
that (i) female and male consumers at all levels of expertise were more likely to prefer white and red
wines, respectively, and (ii) consumers with high levels of expertise were more likely to have higher
wine purchase and consumption patterns.
Beverages 2016,2, 32 15 of 17
This research surveyed millennial consumers of different ethnicities for their frequency-of-
purchase, frequency-of-consumption and knowledge of wine. NA and EU consumers in this study
had signiﬁcantly higher frequency-of-purchase, frequency-of-consumption and knowledge of wine
than Asian consumers; however, Asian consumers were willing to pay more for a bottle of wine.
The research quantiﬁed the inﬂuence of a 12-week university wine education course on consumers’
hedonic and conﬁdence ratings of ﬁve BC wines. It documented that hedonic aroma and ﬂavor ratings
increased for white (Ehrenfesler, Chardonnay) and rosé wines, but remained unchanged for red
wines (Pinot Noir, Cabernet-Merlot), after a 12-week education/training course. In fact, consumers’
pre-existing preferences were enhanced, and there was no evidence to suggest that consumers would
shift their preference from one wine style to another (e.g., sweet white/rosé to dry red) over this
period. However, it is speculated that wine preferences might have changed had the duration of the
training been longer or if a follow-up assessment been conducted several months after completion of
This work also demonstrated that consumers’ prior wine knowledge was positively correlated
with consumers’ hedonic ratings for red wines, as well as with their conﬁdence ratings for all wines.
NA and Asian consumers with a greater level of wine knowledge purchased and consumed more
wines; this relationship did not exist for EU consumers.
There were also differences in hedonic ratings and conﬁdence levels, initially and at the end of the
study, for consumers of different ethnicities. These ethnic differences are reﬂected in the marketplace,
with Asian consumers generally having less wine knowledge and considerably different behavioral
(consumption/purchase) patterns. Nevertheless, the training provided here would have cumulative
beneﬁts to the consumers’ (positive) wine experience, thereby playing a role in the acquisition of their
wine preferences. This work provided insight into millennial consumers and served as a stepping
stone to more fully understanding the evolution of consumer preferences over time.
The authors would like to thank: Kimberly Dever for data entry, as well as the UBC teaching
assistants and students of FOOD 330 who assisted and participated in the study.
M.A.C. designed and implemented the research, prepared the manuscript and acted as
corresponding author. M.B. analyzed and interpreted the data and participated in manuscript preparation. M.C.K.
conceptualized the project and selected the wines. D.A.J.M. the instructor for the wine course facilitated data
collection and edited the manuscript.
Conﬂicts of Interest: The authors declare no conﬂict of interest.
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