It’s wine time as researchers explore Australian drinking tastes

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Lovers of chilled Hunter whites can taste-test a new style of wine, while contributing to important consumer behaviour research, in an independent study being conducted at the University of Newcastle (UON) and Hunter Medical Research Institute.

wine lovers

Researchers are tight-lipped about the tipple as it may sway opinions prior to tasting and rating, revealing only that it’s a popular variety with a fresh production process.

The trial is part of Masters studies being undertaken by Swiss psychology student Eveline Frey from ETH Zurich University during her secondment to the UON. She is collaborating with a Hunter winery that also remains anonymous.

Survey questions will touch on wine-drinking habits but also examine taste observations and price perceptions for the new wine. Results will be analysed for a scientific research paper – the winemaker will also get feedback to assist from a marketing perspective.

“People today have more focus on healthy foods but it’s not so apparent with wine and drinking alcohol in general,” Ms Frey says. “We are looking for people who are interested in wine but not necessarily an expert.”

Dr Tamara Bucher, who is overseeing the study, adds that consumer behaviour in Australia often differs to that of European cultures when it comes to drinking.

“This type of wine is popular in Europe but yet to be tested with Australian consumers, so we have a unique chance to compare perceptions, preferences and buying habits,” she said.

“Hunter Valley wineries are generally very innovative and open to trying new processes and products, perhaps because they don’t have such long-standing wine-making traditions.”

The tasting study takes 20 minutes, with 90 people required. The team is hoping for an even spread of men and women aged 18 years old or older, who have no allergy to white wine and can consume alcohol.

Upcoming sessions are February 9 at the ATC Building on Callaghan Campus and February 12 and February 23 at the Newcastle campus at Hunter/Auckland Streets. Participants are asked to refrain from driving for four hours after the tasting as a safety measure.

Bookings at https://winestudybooking.as.me/schedule.php or contact study manager Eveline Frey on 0457 254 550 or email eveline.frey@hest.ethz.ch

* HMRI partners with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.