The Irish wine
International Journal of Wine
Vol. 21 No. 2, 2009
# Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The Irish wine market: a market
Shannon College of Hotel Management, Shannon, Ireland, and
Ann M. Torres
Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Economics,
National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Purpose – The Irish wine market has experienced unprecedented growth in the last 15 years; drivers
of growth include increased affordability and accessibility of wine and improved branding. The
purpose of this paper is to examine how the Irish wine market may be meaningfully segmented for
successful brand positioning.
Design/methodology/approach – This research adopts a lifestyle segmentation approach by
linking lifestyle values, product attributes and buying and consumption patterns. The primary
research is descriptive in design, employing a self-administered questionnaire to collect quantitative
data on wine consumer behaviour. Efforts made to ensure a highly representative sample included
choosing a large sample size, administering the questionnaire in a range of outlets, and gathering
information from wine drinkers with wide ranging involvement levels.
Findings – The research identifies three clusters of wine consumers: casual wine buyer, value
seeking wine buyer, and wine traditionalist. Together, the clusters provide an insight into consumers’
behaviour. The high correlation of statistics from this research with those of The Wine Development
Board suggests the data findings are representative of the population.
Research limitations/implications – A limitation of adopting a behavioural basis in conducting
the segmentation is the highly descriptive nature of the resulting data. Examining behaviours give an
insight into how consumers act, but fails to take into account the underlying motivations and
rationale for consumer actions. The use of more complex segmentation bases, such as value systems
and lifestyles may yield a richer understanding of the Irish wine consumer.
Originality/value – The profiles provide wine marketers with an insight into Irish wine consumer
behaviour. The demographic information and the buyer behaviour data provide marketers with
points of access to their target market. Brand positioning can be improved by ensuring the brand
communicates and emphasises the product attributes, which the targeted segments value the most
when choosing wine.
Keywords Ireland, Wines, Market segmentation, Brands, Marketing
Paper type Research paper
The Irish wine market has experienced unprecedented growth in the last from 15 to 20
years. From 1990 to 2007, total wine sales in Ireland have more than quadrupled,
increasing from 1.7 to 7.6 million cases. In the 13 years between 1994 and 2007, wine’s
proportion of the Irish alcohol market more than doubled from 8 per cent to 17.9 per cent
(Wine Development Board, 2007). Growth in wine consumption is forecasted to
continue with a growth of 15 per cent expected by 2012 (Euromonitor, 2008). As the
wine drinking culture in Ireland is relatively new, the segmentation of the market and
brand positioning is in its infancy. Further study into segmentation is required to
improve the profitability of the industry, and to develop choice and the accessibility of
wine for Irish consumers. The specific purpose of the paper is to examine how the Irish
wine market may be effectively segmented for improved brand positioning in Ireland.
Thus, the paper aims to determine the key trends in the Irish wine market, examine the
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at