Wine Consumer Behaviour & Trends Research Services

Launching the Sirocco Insights

Sirocco food and wine consulting is launching Sirocco Insights, new consumer behaviour  and trends research services to help wineries and wine retailers collect reliable consumer preference data and engage their customer base.

Customer data and analytics are critical for business growth. Research shows that product enjoyment as well as taste are determining factors that impact customers’ repeat purchasing decisions. From intercept interviews, focus groups, directed wine tastings, Sirocco Insights help support your business strategy and improve sales.

Engage your customers by adding a sensory dimension to your customer care program.

Sirocco Insights

Customer insights are critical for business growth. Our team can help you collect and interpret valid consumer data to support your marketing strategy and boost sales.

The Sirocco Insights are based on internationally recognised consumer research and sensory evaluation methods. Intercept surveys and wine tastings aim to answer simple questions. Which wine(s) do our customers prefer? When a change in winemaking or grape selection is made, does it impact the aroma, flavour, taste of our wines? Can our customers notice the difference? Should we pursue these efforts? Are these efforts generating more sales? The directed tastings are led by wine educators and wine consumer analysts. Tastings are engaging, educational and add to the wine tasting experience.

Examples of consumer research studies

Investigating emerging trends (i.e. natural wines, orange wines, variations of Rosé wine, cannabis-infused wines). Service formats include intercept interviews, small focus groups and  online surveys sent to your email list.

Investigating customer segments

Do you know your customer base well? What are the consumer preferences of 19-34 year olds?

Investigating wine defects

Can your customer detect smoke taint? What is their reaction to it? Is blending an option?

Optimizing wine blending

What wine blend(s) do your customers prefer? Do they perceive added value in some blends?

Making a packaging/label change

Does a new label, cork or a screw cap make a difference to your customer? Is the taste of the wine aligned with wine packaging?

Changing winemaking practices

Does added acidity or a new oak regime change the perception of the wine? Do your customer appreciate or accept the change? How does the degree of malolactic fermentation or new yeast inoculation affect the flavour and body of the wine? Which wine(s) are your customers willing to buy?

How Do We Work?

  • We provide a free consultation by conference call or face-to-face to discuss your project objectives. Services are tailored to business needs and budgets.
  • Directed wine tastings
    • Conducted on site (retail store or tasting room)
    • Winery/Retailer provides glassware and wine tasting utensils
    • Client provides a comfortable setting to allow for a quality wine tasting (free of distractions)
    • Wine educators/consumer analysts conduct informed tastings, engage consumers and collect data
  • Consumer data is analysed. Insights are discussed with you and your team.

Note: wine tastings may be scheduled and customized based on your business needs (wine festival events, wine club events, providing participants with discounts or other benefits). Sirocco Food and Wine Consulting is a bonded company located in Kelowna, BC.

We are now booking for 2019! Contact us to schedule your free consultation.


Karine Lawrence

Karine Lawrence, Sirocco Owner and Principal, has worked for the wine and food industry for over 20 years and brings an extensive working knowledge in Sensory Evaluation of food and wine, and Quality Management. Since 2014, she has been a wine instructor at Okanagan College (Penticton campus) and has provided research and consulting services to food and wine industry stakeholders in Canada and the United States. Karine holds a Master of Food Science degree as well as a diplôme d’ingénieur (specialized in agri-food industries). She is a member of the Society of Sensory Professionals.

Darcen Esau

Darcen is a market researcher specializing in both consumer behavior and sensory evaluation. With over a decade of experience designing and implementing research studies, he is currently working at the University of British Columbia Okanagan to better understand the sensory experience of wine and how this impacts consumer decision making.

Previously, as the Associate Vice President at Ipsos, he designed and implemented consumer behavior and product understanding studies for clients throughout North America. As an experienced moderator and facilitator, this included dozens of qualitative projects, including focus groups, IDI’s, shop-alongs, and ethnographies. Additionally, he has designed and conducted dozens of quantitative studies, many of which utilize advanced analytics like Implicit Association, TURF, Discrete Choice Modelling and MaxDiff.

As a Panel Leader for Sensory Spectrum Inc., he led descriptive analysis panels to understand the sensory experience of consumer products, a skillset he continues to implement with wine panel research across Canada.


Authored Publications

Peña, C., Joy, A., & Lawrence, K. (2019). Rebranding wine using sensory profiling data: A case study. In Case Studies in the Wine Industry (pp. 115-128). Woodhead Publishing.

Buy the Book

Other Publications

Joy, A., Grohmann, B., & Peña, C. (2019). Preliminary thoughts on the importance of sensory profiling for strategic decision-making in Canadian wineries. In Case Studies in the Wine Industry (pp. 167-179). Woodhead Publishing.

Grohmann, B., Peña, C., & Joy, A. (2018). Wine quality and sensory assessments: do distinct local groups of wine experts differ?. Journal of Wine Research, 1-12.

What Clients Are Saying

We were in a situation that required that we get an SQF Certification in a very short period of time. Sirocco Consulting provided us with the templates we needed and talked us through the process. No doubt without them we could not have achieved receiving our certification in the allotted time. Karine was our consultant and she made the process understandable and much less daunting than it would have been otherwise. I highly recommend Sirocco Consulting to any company that needs a third-party audit. It was one of the best investments we made in our trek to become third-party certified. We are counting on significant return on investment having achieved this milestone in our growth. Thanks Sirocco!
When we decided to implement the SQF program in our facility we knew we would have to develop a lot of new procedures and forms. We reached out to Karine Lawrence of Sirocco Consulting and with her guidance and templates, we were able to smoothly implement the code. The template package was very complete and easy to follow; each document made reference to the element of the code being covered making it easy to track our progress and if we had any questions Karine was quick to answer and provide examples. We had our desk audit recently and the auditor was happy to see how complete our documentation was, the template package and Karine’s support were key in this accomplishment.
“Thank you” very much for being with us for conducting the “Basic Sensory Science” Training here at Silver Spring Foods on the 27th September 2019. It was a great pleasure meeting with you and working with you during the course of the workshop and It was indeed a great training session. [...]It was great that our teams had the opportunity to screen the basic characteristic of the food products and along with our own range of product samples. We were very delighted the way that you presented the training and conducted the sample screenings during the session. Once again Thanking You for the job well done and for providing Certificates of Accomplishments to our Teams!
I would like to express my gratitude to my instructor Karine Lawrence, for dedicating her valuable time and energy into the FSPCA (Preventive Controls for Human Food) workshop which I attended in Toronto. The workshop was extremely informative. The teaching method, contents, and the combination of presentations and assignments were in a perfect accordance with the objectives of the workshop, as it addressed all my questions and the ambiguities that I had in my mind before the meeting. I believe that the enthusiasm and positive responses of all participants to the workshop were a reflection of usefulness and credibility of Karine’s performance during the event as well as the importance of the presented topics throughout the workshop.
I am writing this testimonial to express my gratitude to Karine Lawrence from Sirocco Food + Wine Consulting. We started our SQF implementation using the Sirocco SQF templates last August (2019) and just passed SQF 8.1 stage 1 and 2 audits on October and December. The templates are professionally written and the implementation was very easy. I highly recommend the Sirocco Consulting Templates. Thank you very much Karine.
I would like to thank both of you for organizing & presenting this informative valuable training for Food Industry Professionals within the QA Sector. With the SFCR enactment recently, I have gained valuable insight on the expectations of CFIA along with the opportunities & grants  that are available from the “Post - Farm Food Safety Program through your presentation.
Also, Ketki’s presentation on compliance with the FSMA-“Foreign Supplier Verification” gave me valuable information on the expectations of the “Importer” from the “supplier” with regards to pertinent documents associated to food products being exported to the US.
Thanks once again  for all you support.
We contacted Sirocco Consulting after scoring lower than desired on a SQF 8.0 audit. Karine visited our plant and did a gap assessment. We found her efficient and helpful and used her guidance to get our CARs addressed. Subsequently, we hired Karine to return and train our key personnel on the FSPCA course. Again, we appreciate her knowledge and ability to teach in efficiently. I would recommend Sirocco to anyone needing help building their food safety program. Read More
We just had a gap assessment conducted in preparation for our SQF audit. We developed our written program with the help of Sirocco Food and Wine Consulting. These templates are terrific and easy to implement. The SQF consultant who performed the document review was very impressed with the quality of the procedures and record templates. Knowing that our written documents meet the standard, we feel that we are in a good position to pass our SQF audit and obtain our certification.
As a worldwide importer, in-house re-packager, and direct supplier of over 200 diverse food and dietary supplement ingredients, we faced significant compliance challenges surrounding FSMA, FSVP, and dietary supplement GMP, on top of customer requirements for GFSI compliance.  We interviewed multiple food safety consultants prior to choosing Karine Lawrence at Sirocco, and we couldn’t be happier with our choice— Karine’s FSPCA PCQI Lead Instructor, certified SQF trainer/consultant, auditing and R&D background among other experience was the perfect match for our needs.  She took a practical, entity-based approach in helping us design and implement a comprehensive SQF Edition 8 QMS tailored to effectively and efficiently manage our risks and compliance requirements, while keeping the customer service and operational aspects of our business a priority.  We were impressed with both the form and function of her modern SOP and document sets, as well as all the detail HACCP, risk assessment and other diligence she performed, including working within our cloud-based document management/FSVP software system.  Now we’re receiving “Excellent” audit scores and are delivering better value to our customers than ever.  Sirocco was a great choice!
We worked with Sirocco Food & Wine Consulting to get our FSVP. Karine was great to work with. She was very helpful and always got back to us promptly with any questions we had. I would recommend Sirroco to anyone working on getting their FSVP.
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