Study compares wine preferences, perceptions

Professor Hildegarde Heymann, UC Davis. (photo: Jon Tourney/Wines & Vines)
Professor Hildegarde Heymann, UC Davis. (photo: Jon Tourney/Wines & Vines)

Consumers rate wines differently than experts and trained panelists.

April 21, 2014
(from Wines and Vines)

A study involving wine sensory character, quality perception and preferences by wine experts, trained panelists, and consumers indicates that consumers have a wider range of wine sensory likes than expert tasters and competition judges.

Speaking at a recent conference, sensory scientist Hildegarde Heymann, a professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, reported on the evaluation of 27 wines from a California State Fair Wine Competition.

“There were consumers who liked all of these wines,” Heymann said. “That’s good news for the companies trying to sell these wines.”

But she noted there was significant disagreement in quality ratings among consumers. Every wine was rated high quality, and every wine was rated low quality by different consumers on the testing panel. The experts’ quality ratings were more similar to the State Fair judges’ scores. Consumers make choices in less controlled ways.

(Read the full story by Jon Tourney, March 18, 2014, in Wines & Vines.)

Media contact:

  • Hildegarde Heymann, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 530-754-4816,

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, contact:

Ann Filmer, Senior Director of Communications, 530-754-6788,