The influence of partial alcohol reduction in wine on consumer appreciation and acceptability was investigated. Two white wines (Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc) and two red wines (Merlot and Syrah) were partially dealcoholized using reverse osmosis to span a range of three different alcohol contents (14% to 10%) by grape variety. A group of 79 French wine consumers comparatively rated their appreciation of these wines, first in blind tasting conditions and then with added information. A group of 35 French wine professionals also comparatively rated their appreciation of the same wines in blind conditions and described them by rating the intensity of 10 informal descriptors. Wine professionals did not like the sensory properties of reduced-alcohol wines, whereas consumer likings were less clear and masked a strong segmentation. Experienced wine consumers had similar ratings as the wine professionals and did not like reduced-alcohol wine, whereas less experienced consumers liked the sensory properties of reduced-alcohol wines. Reduced-alcohol wines were described by wine professionals as less hot, sweet, persistent, and balanced than standard wines. Once information about alcohol reduction was given, consumer likings changed and emphasized either the negative or positive effect of information, depending on the consumer. These findings highlight the importance of providing information on the sensory perception and liking of products.
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