Getting the name right is crucial for wine industry

NAMES AND TASTE:  Professor Eddie Oczkowski of the National Wine Grape Industry Centre.
NAMES AND TASTE: Professor Eddie Oczkowski of the National Wine Grape Industry Centre.

LABELLING and naming play a big role at the consumer end in the wine industry.

Syrah and Shiraz are made from the same variety of grapes but what you call the wine on the label has a big impact on the price, according to new research by Charles Sturt University (CSU). Professor of Applied Economics and Quantitative Methods, Eddie Oczkowski, from the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) and CSU School of Accounting and Finance, has examined the use of synonyms for varietal names in wine labelling.

“Legislation governs the type of information that can be used in naming a wine in Australia,” Professor Oczkowski said.

“In some cases producers can strategically choose the grape variety name that appears on the label, for example Syrah is an acceptable synonym for Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc is an alternative to Fume Blanc, and Pinot Grigio can be used for Pinot Gris.”

Professor Oczkowski said the research examined if there are price premiums associated with these alternate names. “If there was a big shift in the industry towards labelling the wine as Syrah rather than Shiraz for example, we would expect the current premiums to be eroded,” he said. 

“The research findings also suggest that consumers may need to think twice about purchasing some of these varieties which use these alternative names.”