The Emotion We Want when Buying Wine - Part One

I recently returned from TEXSOM, and I have to say that it was an incredible time of learning and growing.  Being part of the Media Team opened my eyes to new opinions and mindsets and I looked at each interaction a little differently.  For the first time, I started to think about how emotion is linked to beverages.

I attended a seminar on the Buyer’s Perspective on how to purchase wine for your operation.  This was an incredible insight into the process, and I learned a great deal.  However, one quote stood out from everything else I learned:

  • “Know why you are saying yes to a purchase as each purchase should have a quality to it (brand name, quality, style, price, customer expectation).” Keith Goldston

While he was stating that when we purchase a wine to have on a menu, we should have a reason for purchasing it.  That reason is not related to the buyer, but to the customers.  For example, if I was creating a wine list for an operation, I have a few personal favorite wines that I would love to showcase to others.  There is one fundamental problem with that:

  • I’m assuming that my customers will want this wine as much as I do.

I can be excited about a specific wine, but my taste buds are different compared to everyone else.  They may not like it.  That does not mean the wine is bad, it just does not meet their taste profile. 

Taste Profile

Let’s talk about the concept of taste profile.  All this means is that you like or dislike certain beverages.  We all have grown up in different environments and been exposed to different viewpoints, experiences, etc.  That’s fantastic as it makes us who we are.  It’s our underlying core.  Over the years, we have learned (through some fashion) what we like and do not like.  For example, if I had to choose a soda to drink, I will normally pick Pepsi.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with Coco Cola; I just prefer the slight sweetness in Pepsi.  I grew up with Coke and drank it all the time.  Now, I reach for Pepsi due to preference.

Well, it’s the same for all beverages.  Some prefer coffee over tea. Some people love and crave energy drinks.  Some like pancake syrup – sorry, sweet Iced Tea.  It’s all good as you like and dislike what you want.  Understanding this is paramount to the next aspect of beverage selection and that’s emotion.

Emotion in Selection

I love to go grocery shopping.  Not to explore for new products.  Not to fight with everyone during Thanksgiving (that’s coming up sooner than we realize) for a turkey or a sale.  I LOVE TO PEOPLE WATCH.  The two best places to do this are at the grocery store and the liquor store.  Why may you ask?  It’s the best insight into the taste profiles of people.  Here’s an exercise:

  • Next time you go shopping, slow down and watch what people look at and purchase (Don’t be creepy about it – just observe).

People are purchasing what they need or want /desire.  However, there is a reason and emotion for each purchase.  If we need to stock up on something, we just pick out what we need and move on.  Eggs are a great example.  You do not see people for 10 minutes looking at the egg selection.  They grab what they need and move on without emotion.  The only emotion you may see is them checking that the eggs are not broken.

In December 2022, egg prices were though the roof here in MI.  The cheap eggs that I used to purchase for 60 cents a dozen were now over five dollars.  Do you want to talk about emotion?  I saw one older lady walk up, look at the prices shocked for about 20 seconds and then mouthed WTF!  That was emotion on full display.

Beverage Purchases

The same mindset above works for beverages (especially alcohol).  People purchase for one of two reasons:

  • Need, or
  • Want / Desire.

Do people need alcohol?  I’d argue in most cases not.  However, we purchase them more out of desire to satisfy an emotion (which we could argue there are multiple ones).  I want you to take a moment though and think about your reason why you want/desire them.  For me, it may be one of these listed:

  • I’ve had in the past and enjoyed it so I’m going to purchase it again,
  • I’m curious to try it,
  • It’s on sale so stock up,
  • I’m craving this all of a sudden,
  • I read something on this, so I want to explore, and
  • Why not.

Each one of these reasons is linked to an emotion of some type.  My question is, have you ever thought about that emotion or tapped into it when you are making your decision?  I think this is key and the most important point that I learned during TEXSOM.  Here’s the quote again:

  • “Know why you are saying yes to a purchase as each purchase should have a quality to it (brand name, quality, style, price, customer expectation).” Keith Goldston

What he’s saying is that customers purchase based on a reason and an emotion.  From now on as I teach about beverages, I plan to focus on emotion more.  If you look at my articles (especially the tea reviews), I give great reasons on what to purchase and why to purchase them.  Now, I plan to share more of the emotional piece with you.

Final Thoughts

I was at Costco a few days ago picking up needed items (trash bags, white sugar, etc.).  However, every time I go in, I always walk by the liquor area hoping that a stray bottle of Weller’s is sitting on the shelf.  It never happens but I always hope.  However, I was able to find BV Tapestry for a great price and purchased a bottle of it.  Why?  For the emotional and sentimental experience, I’ve had with this wine over the years.  Next week, I’ll explain why it’s special to me like all beverages.

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