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Keywords:

  • Environmentally friendly;
  • experience and credence goods;
  • lab experiment;
  • sensory;
  • willingness to pay;
  • wine
  • C9 ;
  • C24 ;
  • M31 ;
  • Q13

Abstract

Agricultural producers and food marketers are increasingly responding to environmentally friendly cues from consumers, even though privately appropriated values associated with a range of food products commonly rank above their public-good counterparts. Wine can be considered an ideal product to examine these issues given consumers’ highly subjective sensory preferences towards wine, and a winegrape production process that is relatively intensive in the use of chemical inputs for the control of disease and infection. Semi-dry Riesling wines made from field research trials following environmentally friendly canopy management practices were utilised in a lab experiment to better understand preferences for environmental attributes in wine. A combined sensory and monetary evaluation framework explicitly considered asymmetric order effects. Empirical results revealed that sensory effects dominate extrinsic environmental attributes. Once consumer willingness to pay (WTP) was conditioned on a wine’s sensory attributes, the addition of environmentally friendly information did not affect their WTP; however, adding sensory information significantly influenced WTP initially based only on environmental attributes. The results confirm the idea that promoting environmentally friendly winegrape production practices would increase demand and lead to higher premiums for the products, but are only sustainable if consumers’ sensory expectations are met on quality.