10 Findings from the Central New York Wine Survey | CNY Wine Survey Results

Summer is in full swing in Central New York. This means it's prime time to visit local wineries and (of course) drink wine! Wondering what Central New Yorkers say their favorite type of wine is? Or their favorite Finger Lakes winery? How much money are residents of CNY most likely to spend on one bottle of wine?

Drive Research, a market research company in Syracuse, has data to answer these questions and more!

Project Background

Drive Research just wrapped up the 2019 CNY wine survey. The survey gathered 312 responses from those who live in the 7-county Syracuse designated market area (DMA). This includes Syracuse, Oswego, Cortland, Tompkins, Seneca, Cayuga, and Madison counties.

Survey invites were sent to members of the Drive Research survey panel as well as both paid and organic social media posts. Fieldwork for the CNY wine survey began on June 22 and lasted until July 7, 2019. The survey included 23 questions and took respondents an average of 6 minutes to complete.

Questions in the CNY wine survey Included:

  1. What type of wine do you prefer?
  2. What is your knowledge level of wine?
  3. Where do you typically purchase wine?
  4. In the past 3 months, how many bottles of wine have you purchased?
  5. What is the most money you've spent on one bottle of wine?
  6. What are the most important factors when purchasing wine?
  7. What is your favorite Finger Lakes winery?
  8. What are your favorite areas to visit alongside Finger Lakes wineries?
  9. How many Finger Lakes winery tours have you participated in, in the past 5 years?
  10. What is most important when deciding what Finger Lake winery to visit?

This is just a taste of the types of questions included in the 2019 CNY wine survey! For more details about this study please contact Drive Research.

Wondering what Central New Yorkers say their favorite type of wine is? Or their favorite Finger Lakes winery? Drive Research set out to answer these hard hitting questions with our 2019 CNY wine survey.

1. CNY prefers dry wine

We asked Central New Yorkers, what style of wine they most preferred including dry white, dry red, sweet white, sweet rose/blush, dry rose/blush, and sweet red. Respondents were able to select more than one because these are the types of questions that keep people up at night.

The CNY wine survey showed half of CNY residents preferred dry white (47%) or dry red (45%) wine. These were the top two responses, which had me ~shook.~

Following these two wine preferences are:

  • Sweet white (38%)
  • Sweet rose/blush (32%)
  • Dry rose/blush (28%)
  • Sweet red (27%)

To be honest, I am shocked dry rose did not score higher on this list. Personally, it's my favorite. More for me!

2. Few CNY wine drinkers consider themselves "wine experts"

Oh you fancy, huh? Not quite. According to the CNY wine survey, only 4% of Central New Yorkers describe their level of wine knowledge as "expert."

The majority of respondents (67%) categorize their level of wine knowledge as intermediate, explaining "I know a thing or two about wine - just don’t quiz me."

Lastly, 29% reported their level of wine knowledge as beginner, stating "I might not know specifics, but I know I like wine." Preach.

3. CNY Wine Survey shows 62% purchase wine directly from wineries

In an unsurprising turn of events, the top two ways CNY prefers to buy wine are at wine or liquor stores (90%) and wineries (62%). Less common methods were restaurants, bars, and festivals.

It appears the rise of online wine delivery subscriptions and services have not yet affected in-store purchases. Only 7% of CNY wine buyers prefer to purchase from winery websites and only 6% stated they prefer to order online from a wine or liquor store.

Take that, Internet.

4. Most have spent $525 on wine in the past three months

When asked how many bottles of wine respondents purchased in the past three months, the most common response was 35 bottles. Looking at the total average however, this number dropped to 12 bottles of wine purchased in the past 3 months.

I'm probably more in the 35 bottle range myself, but we can't all be overachievers.

Additionally, the CNY wine survey showed most commonly, respondents spend $15 on a typical bottle of wine. Again, looking at the total average, CNY residents said they spend $17 on a typical bottle of wine.

Let's exercise our brains a bit. This means, respondents most commonly spend $525 on wine every three months. That's a total of $2,100 spent on wine per year according to the CNY Wine Survey! Okay, enough math. Back to wine!

5. CNY is willing to splurge on wine

Four respondents reported $250 was the most they have ever spent on a bottle of wine. To those four CNY residents, if you're reading this, let's hang out sometime?

For us more "regular" folk, the CNY wine survey showed on average, $50 was the most they have ever spent on a bottle of wine. Still impressive! With a $6 bottle of wine available in the market, you can go to sleep happy tonight knowing you'll splurge for the good stuff.

6. Taste and price of wine are the most important factors for CNY wine drinkers

Respondents of the CNY wine survey were asked to rank the importance of several different factors when purchasing wine. Let's see how this panned out.

  • Taste (93%)
  • Cost (66%)
  • Recommendations (45%)
  • Locally produced (31%)
  • Awards and ratings (22%)
  • Bottle design (15)
  • Other (1%)

Respondents were able to select more than one answer. How can one decide between taste and cost? Well, clearly CNY wine drinkers can. It's taste.

7. Most of CNY has a favorite Finger Lakes winery

Respondents were asked to list their favorite Finger Lakes wineries.

According to the CNY wine survey, the top five Finger Lake wineries are:

(1) Three Brothers

(2) Hazlitt

(3) Swedish Hill

(4) Wagner

(5) Dr. Frank

I have been to all of these wineries, except Swedish Hill. Don't have to twist my arm. Looks like I have a trip to make!

Respondents were also asked to explain why they chose these wineries as their favorites. I've outlined these below.

  • Three Brothers: The atmosphere and variety of wineries, brewery, and restaurant.
  • Hazlitt: The taste of wine (hello, Red Cat) and having fun at the winery.
  • Swedish Hill: Liking the wine and a friendly staff.
  • Wagner: Selection of wine and craft beer. Respondents also loved the views and restaurant.
  • D. Frank: Enjoying the wine and atmosphere.

8. Over half of respondents have a favorite Finger Lakes region or lake

The CNY Wine Survey showed 54% of respondents had a favorite area to visit when choosing a Finger Lakes winery. The most common responses included:

  • Skaneateles Lake
  • Owasco Lake
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Seneca Lake
  • Keuka Lake
  • Canandaigua Lake

See the heat map below which shows favorite areas to visit Finger Lakes wineries.

heat map - wine survey

9. Most have been on a Finger Lakes wine tour in the past 5 years

A winery tour is a trip where you plan to visit multiple Finger Lakes wineries in one day. Remember, it's a marathon - not a sprint.

Overall, three in every four respondents have been on at least one Finger Lakes wine tour in the past five years (76%). Other respondents reported going on one or two Finger Lakes wine tours in the past five years (30%). On a typical wine tour, respondents visit restaurants, breweries, shops, and distilleries in addition to wineries.

Also, 50% of respondents from the CNY Wine Survey traveled from winery to winery by a bus or limo with a driver. Other methods of transportation included a personal vehicle and a rented vehicle.

10. Location and recommendations are most important when deciding which Finger Lakes wineries to visit

When deciding which wineries to visit on a Finger Lakes wine tour, the most common factors were the location of the winery and recommendations from friends and family.

Respondents noted location was important for ease of traveling from home. With that being said, most respondents of the CNY wine survey stated they traveled an hour and a half from home to reach their first destination. Recommendations were also important because of factors such as taste, price, and variety of wines available.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design custom market research to fit the needs of any organization.

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