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Sensory perceptions of SA Chenin blanc styles: perspective of industry experts and consumers

by | Jan 12, 2022 | Oenology

Project number:
IWBT W 17/01

Project leader:
Dr H.H. Nieuwoudt

South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University

Team members:
Claudia Gevers, Andiswas Mapheleba, Nadia van der Colff

Project description:
South African (SA) consumers’ acceptance and involvement with Chenin blanc wine styles is under research. This project aimed to gain insight into SA consumers’ sensory and non-sensory perceptions, wine purchase behaviour, and perceived risks for this varietal, and to obtain industry role players’ input on how to position Chenin blanc competitively in the SA white wine market.
Consumers did a blind (no information given) tasting of three Chenin blanc wine styles and provided feedback on their perceptions by free description, followed by Check-All-That-Apply (CATA) sensory profiling. Interviews, and the design of statistically validated self-completion on-line questionnaires, captured consumers’ and industry role payers’ responses to a range of questions related to Chenin blanc.
Consumers described the wines’ taste in terms of appeal, consumption occasions and food pairing. A low awareness of styles and consumption of Chenin were evident among consumers. Consumers are uncertain about the taste of Chenin, which puts retail purchase decisions at risk. Recommendations for risk reduction and competitive positioning of Chenin are made.
Generalisation of key results to all SA consumer segments cannot be made, however, positive consumer resonance with the major Chenin blanc styles was demonstrated. Several proposals for addressing risks for Chenin market share were generated.
The take Home message for Industry is to make South Africans part of the unfolding Chenin blanc scenario by intensifying engagement with the consumer through tutored wine tastings, contact with the winemakers, visits to cellars and sharing of wine information.


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