Around 95% of human beings’ decision-making process is done subconsciously, according to Wine Intelligence – and the wine trade needs to be aware of that in its marketing.

Speaking at a London International Wine Fair briefing, Wine Intelligence chief executive Lulie Halstead said that growing awareness of neuroscience and unconscious reactions to brands should influence the wine business at all levels, from brand creation through to pricing decisions.

She cited a number of experiments that have been carried out over the  past decade showing just how irrational consumers’ choices can be.

Research in the US found that in shops where customers were given queueing numbers, those with higher numbers would spend more.

In Australia a shop which alternated playing German and French music found that on the days when French music was played French wine outsold German wine by three to one, but when German music was played German wine outsold French three to one.

And research comparing Pepsi with Coca-Cola has found that in blind tests, consumers consistently prefer the taste of Pepsi – but once they know which brand they are drinking, their brains’ pleasure centres are stimulated by Coke.

Halstead said: “There is a lot going on that we are not conscious of. A lot of decision-making we are doing is irrational.

“We can learn from this in terms of increasing advertising effectiveness, spend, influence, brand hierarchy, and most importantly how we position price, both in terms of retailer offers and how we present offers.”