Consumer Behaviors and Attitudes Towards Wine Purchasing and Marketing Specific to New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Demographics of Super Core, Core, and Marginal Survey Participants

By: Jen Zelinskie and Dr. Kathy Kelley

“If we can understand how consumers choose wine, then we have a much better framework to decide pricing, packaging, distribution, advertising and merchandising strategies” (Lockshin, 2003).

Understanding consumers’ behaviors and attitudes towards wine purchasing and consumption is key for developing a successful marketing plan for your winery. The United States is number one in the world for wine consumption (SVB, 2016); hence, it is evident that there is a demand for wine as the number of wineries in the U.S. continues to grow.  In one year, 2014 to 2015, there was a net 6% growth in the number of U.S. wineries (Wines & Vines, 2016). As of December 2015, there were 8,702 wineries located in the country, of which 367 were located in New York, 220 in Pennsylvania, and under 100 in New Jersey (Wines & Vines, 2016).

With this growth in the number of wineries comes increased competition; therefore, it is important to acknowledge and understand wine consumers’ behaviors and attitudes, especially in your target market. One must consider certain factors when determining which wines to sell, how to advertise, promotion methods, and also how to price your wine. To better understand any differences within the wine consuming public, we segment the market based on: demographic characteristics, such as income and age; situations when they drink wines, such as holidays and special occasions; behaviors, consumption of organic wine and consumption frequency; and taste preferences (Lockshin, 2003).

Knowing your consumers’ taste preference for wine is an essential factor in understanding your target market

Knowing your consumers’ taste preference for wine is an essential factor in understanding your target market

The purpose of this post, as well as the proceeding ones based on Jen’s research, is to discuss the demographics, consumer behaviors, and attitudes towards the wine industry specific to the Mid-Atlantic region.

Data was collected 30 November to 1 December 2015 through a 15-minute Internet survey, administered to Survey Sampling International, LLC (Shelton, CT) panelists:

  1. age 21 and older,
  2. who resided in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and
  3. who drank and purchased wine at least a few times a year.

Of the panelists who attempted the survey, 847 qualified and completed the questionnaire. A variety of questions were asked in the survey to quantify participants’ demographics characteristics, wine consumption frequency, and wine purchasing behaviors.

Wine Consumption Frequency, Segmented by State of Residence

Participants were segmented into three categories based on wine consumption frequency:

  • super core, those who consumed wine daily to a few times a week;
  • core, those who consumed wine about once a week, and
  • marginal, those who consumed wine less frequently (Wine Market Council, 2009).

Figure 1., below, shows the percentage of consumers in each of the three states segmented based on their consumption frequency.  As you can see, for all three states, the largest segment of those who participated in our survey were super core wine consumers.

Feb 2016_Jen_Fig1

Wine Purchasing Behaviors

A majority of our super core wine consumers (78.9%) reported purchasing wine at least two to three times a month, while just less than half (46.5%) of core wine consumers indicated that they purchased the beverage at this frequency. The majority of marginal drinkers (58.9%) reported purchasing wine only a few times a year. Figure 2. shows the purchasing frequency of each of the three segments.

Figure 2. Wine Purchasing Behaviors for the Super Core, Core, and Marginal Consumption Segments

Feb 2016_Jen_Blog1Fig2a Feb 2016_Jen_Blog1Fig2b Feb 2016_Jen_Blog1Fig2c

Participants were also asked to indicate their role in purchasing wine consumed in the home: 1) “everyday” wine (not for consuming when celebrating a special occasion and/or entertaining; 2) wine purchased for special occasions and/or entertaining; and 3) wine purchased for both occasions.   For all groups, super core, core, and marginal, the majority of consumers purchased wine for both “everyday” consumption and to serve during special occasions and/or when entertaining (76.4, 75.3, and 62.6% respectively).

Wine Consumption Frequency and Participant Age

Overall, the percent of survey participants in each age range (e.g. 21 to 24, 25 to 34 years of age) was fairly similar.  These data were then segmented based on wine consumption segment, as seen in Figure 3, below.  As much is written about how wine attitudes and behaviors can differ between generations, we too will analyze the data to determine if survey question responses differed based on age range and generation.

Feb 2016_Jen_Blog1Fig3

Additional Demographics

In summary, the majority of participants in each of the three segments were: White, not Hispanic or Latino, females, had a 2014 household income between $25,000 to $75,999, resided in suburban areas, were married or in a domestic partnership, and had no children under 17 in their household.

This presentation of our participants’ demographics and wine purchasing frequency is just the first of many blogs to come, based on data collected from our third consumer survey. In the next post, we will discuss participants’ knowledge and comfort with selecting wine, as well as factors influencing their purchasing decisions (e.g. brand, price, recommendations).


Lockshin, L. 2003. Consumer Purchasing Behaviour for Wine: What We Know and Where We Are Going. Academy of Wine Business. University of South Australia, 2003. (accessed 10 February 2016).

McMillan, R. 2016. State of the Wine Industry 2016. SVB Financial Group. (accessed 10 February 2016).

Wine Market Council. 2009. Snapshot Report: Super Core Wine Drinkers. Available at: (accessed 24 August 2014).

Wines & Vines. 2016. The Voice of the Wine Industry. Wines & Vines. (accessed 10 February 2016).


Jen Zelinskie is a Master’s student at The Pennsylvania State University, specializing in wine marketing. Her interests include understanding the marketing and social media strategies appropriate for independent wineries, as well as understanding consumer attitudes about wine in relation to nutritional intake and subsequent consumption and purchasing behaviors. Her hope is to work in the wine industry in the area of marketing and business management. 

Research & Thesis Advisory Team:

  • Jeffrey Hyde, Professor, Agricultural Economics, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Denise Gardner, Extension Enologist, Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Brad Rickard, Assistant Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University
  • Karl Storchmann, Clinical Professor, Economics Department, New York University; Managing Editor, Journal of Wine Economics
  • Michela Centinari, Assistant Professor of Viticulture, Departemnt of Plant Science, 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



Tags: , , , , ,

2 responses to “Consumer Behaviors and Attitudes Towards Wine Purchasing and Marketing Specific to New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Demographics of Super Core, Core, and Marginal Survey Participants”

  1. Mukul Manku says :

    Well researched and nicely explained. I liked the analytics and infographics. Looking forward to more survey reports.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: