Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors towards Wine Purchases: Introduction to the Research

By: Abby Miller (Graduate Student at Penn State University)

Wineries are continuing to spring up in the Mid-Atlantic region (Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey). With more wineries entering the industry, it is essential to understand consumer preferences regarding wine produced within this region and others. Through an Internet survey conducted 20-25 September 2013, 1,183 participants answered questions concerning their wine purchasing and consumption attitudes and behaviors and their demographic and socioeconomic status. Panelists were screened for being at least 21 years old, residing in one of the targeted states (New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania), and for having purchased and drank wine at least once within the previous year.

July 2014_Wine barrells

The two graphs below depict some of the demographic information for survey participants. Figure 1 compares the age ranges of participants (e.g., age 21 to 24) based on their gender. A greater proportion of the survey respondents were female (63%), with the number of female participants in each of the four groups ranging from 140 (18.8% of the total female participants), for those who responded that they were between the ages 21 and 24 years, to 209 (28.1%), for those between the ages of 35 to 44 years. There was less variability pertaining to the number of male participants in each group. Seventy-four males (16.9%) responded that they were between the ages of 21 and 24 years, while 124 (28.2%) indicated that they were between the ages of 25 to 34 years and another 124 (28.2%) were between the ages of 45 to 64 years.

Figure 1. Age ranges of participants based on their gender

Figure 1. Age ranges of participants based on their gender

Figure 2 shows the percentage of participants from each of the three states of interest. The greatest percent of participants (48%) were New York residents, followed by Pennsylvania (33%), and New Jersey (18%), which coincides with the population distribution among the three states.

Figure 2. Percentage of participants who resided in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

Figure 2. Percentage of participants who resided in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

Future blog posts will provide insights on participants’ consumption and purchasing habits, as well as provide wineries with insight as to what social media outlets Mid-Atlantic wineries should consider to best connect with their customers and promote and sell their wines.


Abigail Miller is a Master’s student at Penn State University, specializing in wine marketing. Her interests lie mainly within understanding the marketing and social media strategies appropriate for independent wineries, but she also enjoys learning about the production and wine making side of the business. Her hope is to one day become knowledgeable in all aspects of running a winery.

Research & Thesis Advisory Team:

  • Dr. Kathleen Kelley, Professor, Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Jeffrey Hyde, Professor, Agricultural Economics, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Ms. Denise Gardner, Extension Enologist, Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Brad Rickard, Assistant Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Dr. Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Karl Storchmann, Clinical Professor, Economics Department, New York University; Managing Editor, Journal of Wine Economics
  • Dr. Rob Crassweller, Professor, Professor of Tree Fruit, The Pennsylvania State University

The project “Developing Wine Marketing Strategies for the Mid-Atlantic Region” (GRANT 11091317) is being funded by a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant, whose goal is “to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.” For more information about the program, visit


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