To Make Wine or Market?

Texas winemakers are better off spending money on marketing than buying quality grapes, Texas Tech study finds.

Written by Cory Chandler

Texas winemakers are better off spending money on marketing than buying quality grapes, Texas Tech study finds.
This may be a hard truth for budding vintners to swallow, but when it comes to the survival of a brand, quality winemaking may be less important than savvy marketing. In fact, winemakers with limited resources may be better off spending their money on marketing than purchasing higher quality grapes, according to a brand mortality study conducted by researchers at the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute and Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. The 15-year study tracked the fates of 25 Texas wineries beginning in 1991, when nearly 1,000 Texas wine enthusiasts rated the quality and name recognition of each brand. When researchers revisited those wineries in 2006, they found an unmistakable trend: the better the recognition rating a wine brand received, the more likely it was to survive. No such link existed between quality evaluations and a brand’s success. Their conclusion: high brand awareness is more likely to lead to brand survival than a high perception of wine quality. “Quality doesn’t necessarily determine survival of a wine,” said Natalia Kolyesnikova, an assistant professor with the institute and one of the study’s authors. “The quality may be excellent, but a wine brand will die without recognition.” The study was named the 2008 outstanding paper in the International Journal of Wine Business Research. View a copy of the report (the study begins on page 13).