Business professor publishes award-winning wine consumption research

Jan 9, 2010 | General News

Barry J. Babin, professor of business and chair of the marketing & analysis department at Louisiana Tech University, recently published award-winning research that demonstrates that consumers’ psychological beliefs about a wine can over-ride consumer taste sensations in making quality and price judgments.

Published in the November 2009 issue of the International Journal of Wine Business Research, Babin’s research received a 2010 Award for Excellence from the Emerald Literari Network.

The research involved an experiment in which a sample of consumers from Texas tasted a wine ostensibly labeled as either a standard French table wine or a wine from a known wine region in Texas. The results suggest that the knowledge that the wine was French led to greater likability, higher quality perceptions and a willingness to pay a higher price compared to a wine thought to be from a Texas wine region.

In reality, all subjects tasted the same wine so that if the physical characteristics determined consumer judgments the French and Texas wine should have been liked the same. Even subjects having the strongest affinity for Texas and all things Texas displayed greater favorability for a wine described as French.

“Their ethnocentrism or affinity for their home region was not resistant to the belief that French wines are better,” said Babin. “The research shows that psychological affects determine which wines are preferred and purchased more than do the actual physical characteristics of the wine.”

“These results have implications for emerging wine regions but also for the marketing of goods in general as the knowledge that certain products originate from certain regions influences the value of many products.”

The research article titled, “Pride and Prejudice in the Evaluation of Wine?” is coauthored by Julie Guidry, assistant professor of marketing at Louisiana State University as well as William Graziano of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University and Joel Schneider in the Department of Psychology at Illinois State University.

The award will be given in February at the Fifth International Conference of the Academy of Wine Business Research to be held at Auckland (New Zealand) University.



Written by Debbie Van De Velde