• Spritz Marketing & PR

New study reveals that consumers prefer a citrus profile in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

A research project carried out by Master of Wine student and Co-op wine buyer, Sarah Benson for Lallemand Oenology and under the supervision of Masters of Wine, Sam Harrop and Dirceu Vianna Junior, has shown that UK consumers prefer a citrus flavour profile when it comes to their New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc of choice, with a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc being their least favourite.

The study, conducted in collaboration with the St. Clair Family Estate (Marlborough), is key to understanding consumer preferences and was designed in response to declining wine sales in favour of other alcoholic beverages, such as craft beer and gin. As Sarah Benson states in her introduction to the project, “If we are able to understand more about consumer preference, and how this relates to winemaking protocols, we can make wine more relevant to consumers which has potential to stem the decline in wine consumption”.

This study, which focused on four different styles of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - tropical, herbaceous, citrus and barrel fermented, also shows how winemakers can influence the final flavour profile of their wines through the use of microbial tools. By maximising the site potential and respecting the sense of place for each category, through the use of Lallemand’s knowledge of what their microorganisms can accomplish, and together with St Clair’s head winemaker Heather Stewart’s experience of her sites, these four styles were significantly different and ensured that the wines offered to the consumer were distinct.

With the knowledge gained from this study, and with the results achieved from similar research due to be carried in 2019 with New Zealand Chardonnay, winemakers will have the tools to create wines that are not only site-specific, but also reflect the consumer preference of the specific segment they are targeting, therefore giving them a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market.

An executive summary of the research is available on request, and the results are being unveiled and explored in detail at Sauvignon 2019 in Blenheim, New Zealand. Presented by Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, ‘Consumer Preferences with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc’, will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 30th January 2019.

There will a unique opportunity for press draw your own conclusions at a tasting and masterclass being held in London on Tuesday 12th March at 67 Pall Mall. The panel will include Sam Harrop MW, Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, Sarah Benson, Anthony Silvano (Ing Oenologist) and Ann Dumont M.Sc. For more information, or to secure your place at this masterclass, please contact Please note that spaces are limited.