Wine education courses: Changes in wine preferences and motivations for attending

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2008-08

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Like art, wine can be an aesthetic product that requires knowledge before it can be fully understood. To dispel this confusion and to develop knowledge about wine, wine education courses are conducted across the globe. This dissertation is the first study to look at what motivates consumers to take wine education courses. Additionally, this dissertation explores what effects wine education courses have on consumer preferences and their knowledge about wine. For the first study, 131 past and current participants in a wine appreciation course were surveyed to understand what motivated them to attend the course. The findings were different than what has been found in other studies for what motivated people to take other continuing education courses and were different than the motivations to go to a wine festivals. The main motivation for the participants was that they were motivated to become better wine consumers. For the second study, a quasi-experimental design was utilized. Participants were given a test and questionnaire about wine at the beginning of the course which gauged both their subjective knowledge, or what they think they know, and objective knowledge, what they actually knew. They were also asked to blind taste wines and rank those wines. At the end of the course, they repeated both the questionnaire and the blind tasting. The results showed that objective knowledge actually increased, but participants subjective knowledge did not. So, they may have known more but they did not think that they did. Further, though it was anticipated that preferences would change for wine styles following the wine course, they did not. Rankings of wines actually did, though, decrease between pre and post-course. Wine appears to continue to be a confusing topic to consumers, even after they attend a wine course. Though participants seemed to have become more discriminating tasters, as evidenced by the lower rankings of the wines in the post-test, they still did not believe that they were any more knowledgeable about wine, so other methods need to be developed which build subjective knowledge.

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