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Melbourne Polytechnic winemaker confirms weather determines wine choice

03 Jul 2015

Making wine is about more than just growing and pressing grapes. In fact, there is quite a bit of analysis that goes into the long-term success of the industry, and a Melbourne Polytechnic lecturer is at the forefront of wine economic analysis.

Funded by a grant from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, Dr Alastair Reed recently attended the American Association of Wine Economists conference in Mendoza, Argentina, where he was jointly awarded the Christophe Baron Award for Best Conference Presentation.

The Christophe Baron Prize ‘acknowledges outstanding economic work, sometimes conducted off the beaten track, service to the association, and utter dedication to the discipline of wine economics (often done instead of glittering night life).’

Dr Reed, Melbourne Polytechnic's Senior Lecturer in the Bachelor of Agriculture and Technology – Viticulture and Winemaking, won the award for the presentation of the paper ‘Using Big Data to investigate the influence of climate and demography on wine consumer habits’, jointly written with Michael Shannon, a recent Melbourne Polytechnic graduate.

The paper examined the buying habits of customers of a large Australian liquor retailer ‘to determine whether there is a link between environmental conditions leading up to a purchase as well as whether purchase decisions were linked to geographic area within a single city.’

Their study found that there is ‘a significant link between temperature and wine variety preference.’

The Shiraz variety was bought more often in cooler temperatures, supporting the common-held role of the variety as a cold weather choice. Conversely, sales of Sauvignon Blanc increased in warm weather, again supporting the perception that it is viewed as a refreshing wine.

According to Dr Reed and Mr Shannon’s study, ‘These and other correlations provide the industry with the ability to tailor promotions that are finely tuned to prevailing weather conditions. There were clear geographic distributions of wine preference across the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

For example, Chardonnay was significantly linked to established suburbs in the west and east of the city, where as Riesling was significantly linked to burgeoning areas in the north and south, especially areas with a high proportion of single bedroom dwellings.’

With Victoria currently in the grip of chilly weather, we predict most wine-lovers will be enjoying a full-bodied red with our winter meals, until barbecue weather returns and we can get back to the chilled whites.

Read more about this story in the Northern Star Weekly.

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Media enquiries should be directed to Melbourne Polytechnic Communications Officer, Anita Coia, on 03 9269 1251 or Communications@melbournepolytechnic.edu.au

Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly NMIT) operates across six campuses and five specialist training centres throughout Melbourne. The institute delivers high quality vocational education in industry-standard facilities.