Background and Aims: There is considerable diversity amongst the styles of sparkling white wine produced in Australia, from relatively simple, fruit-forward sparkling wines to those that exhibit complexity due to yeast autolysis and ageing. This study profiled the sensory characteristics and quality of sparkling white wines made via the different methods of production (carbonation, Charmat, transfer and Méthode Traditionelle) and determined consumer preferences for Australian sparkling white wine styles.
Methods and Results: The sensory profiles and quality ratings of 50 Australian sparkling white wines were determined by descriptive analysis and expert panels, respectively. A subset of wines representative of the variation observed in sensory profiles, comprising two Méthode Traditionelle wines, two transfer wines, a Charmat wine and a carbonated wine, were subsequently selected for preference testing to determine consumer liking.
Conclusions: The production method strongly influenced the sensory profile, and therefore quality, of the sparkling white wines studied. Mean hedonic ratings ranged from 4.1 to 5.1 (on a 9 cm scale), with the Charmat wine liked the most; however, segmentation based on consumers' individual liking scores identified four consumer clusters with preferences for distinct styles of sparkling white wine.
Significance of the Study: This is the first study to profile the stylistic variation amongst Australian sparkling white wines and, importantly, to determine consumer preferences for different styles of sparkling wine. Research findings enable industry to understand better the preferences of different segments of the consumer market for sparkling wine.