Here’s to the on-trade: the optimum setting for enjoying wine, according to our latest research

We’ve long wondered if a setting can have an impact on the enjoyment of a glass of wine, so we partnered with experimental psychologist Professor Charles Spence and commissioned a consumer survey to find out.

The results show that the UK’s vibrant on-trade provides the perfect setting to enjoy a glass of wine, with our research finding that 62% of consumers appreciate the taste of their drinks when dining out, more than when they are drinking at home – news that Harpers have noted will come as a welcome boost to our on-trade partners.

Socialising is also key, whether at home or out as mentioned by The Times, with our survey finding that a majority (68%) state that food and wine do not taste as good if they are consuming it alone. If your ultimate happy place is sitting around a table with great wine, delicious food and stimulating company, you’re not alone – 84% of consumers would agree with you!

Professor Spence’s research looks at how our brains process the information from each of our five senses. He explains: “There is an intrinsic link between social and emotional cues and the experience of eating food and drinking wine. This plays into the idea of the ‘social facilitation effect’ a well-known gastrophysics theory in which we tend to enjoy food and drink more when in the presence of people we like.

“We are likely to be in a better mood when drinking and eating with friends, and this influences our enjoyment. This is an element in the so-called Provencal Rosé Paradox – the observation that the flavour and enjoyment of a specific wine can change, based on the context and environment we happen to be in. This shows that the social situations we find ourselves in can dramatically influence the way we experience taste and enjoyment; a preferred social interaction will automatically boost our mood, meaning our ability to appreciate flavour is significantly increased.”

Our research found that a quarter of people (28%) alter the type of wine they choose depending on where they are drinking. Two thirds (61%) agree that wine enhances the flavour of certain foods, making the case for operators to offer a varied list to suit these different occasions.

Commenting on the research, Charles Marshall, COO of Berkmann Wine Cellars added: “With the knowledge that consumers tend to prefer the experience of wine when out, whether it be in a restaurant or a pub, operators have a real opportunity to hero their wine menus. Whether this be through offering wines that are lesser known to consumers, promoting local or English wines, or offering new and interesting flavour profiles that complement different foods, operators can ensure their wine offering is the standout feature of their establishment. We hope that this research presents some interesting insights that restaurants can use to support their business function.”


You can read more about this research in the following press coverage:

“Wine tastes better when dining out according to Berkmann research”, Harpers

“Berkmann Wine Cellars’ research reveals that wine is best enjoyed when dining out with good company”, Retail Times

“Why wine tastes better when you’re with friends”, The Times


You must be at least 18+ years of age in the United Kingdom to enter the Berkmann Wine Cellars website.