Originality/value - This study is of value to academic researchers, wine industry practitioners and other wine distribution channel members alike as it provides insights into consumer behaviour differences and one of the core tangible aspects of a wine product, namely the sensory preferences of consumers.Purpose - Exploratory research was conducted in a well-known Australian wine region to determine the differences in the behaviour dynamics and sensory preferences of consumer groups. The overall aim was to gain some insights into the product style preferences of consumers and what this means in practical terms to wine product marketing. Design/methodology - Information was obtained from a random sample of 150 visitors to ten wineries in the Yarra Valley wine region in Australia. Data was collected by means of self-administration surveys using a highly structured questionnaire at each of the winery tasting room venues.Findings - Specific differences exist in the wine consumption behaviour and sensory preferences of males and females and between generational cohorts, specifically Millennial and older consumers. Females drink less wine than males, spend less thereon but tend to 'compensate' for this by buying higher priced wine per bottle which could represent a risk-reduction strategy. Females are noticeably higher than their male counterparts in white wine consumption, preference for a sweeter wine style at a young age and reported a strong preference for medium body style wines over light and full-bodied wines. From a sensory preference viewpoint, fruit tastes and aromas are by far the most important especially among females, as are vegetative characters, wood/oak, and mouth-feel characters. More males on the other hand, preferred the aged characters of wine. Research implications - It is possible to target wine consumers in accordance with their gender and lifecycle stage as far as the sensory and certain behavioural aspects of the product is concerned. This should not be oversimplified and drive product marketing strategies in the wrong direction, though.