Practicum Project | 2011

To Certify or Not to Certify: A Dive into the Tannic Underbelly of the Organic Wine Industry

Students: Hayley Moller, Geoff Wright, Danny Suits, Jon Gim, John Lee, and David Wolk

Client: California Certified Organic Farmers

Advisor: Magali Delmas

Final Report

The present study aims to evaluate the quantitative quality of organic or biodynamic (eco-certified) as compared to traditional wines in California, in order to provide information to consumers, growers, and certifying bodies in the state’s wine industry. Data collection from three wine rating websites resulted in the creation of a comprehensive database of almost 70,000 wines, with details for each bottle relating to the age, type, and location of the wine. Our results show that overall the adoption of certification does not have a negative impact on wine quality as measured by wine ratings for specific groups of wines. The adoption has a positive effect of rating for wines under $40, wines from the Napa region, and wines under $40 from the Napa region. These findings hold implications for addressing the consumer information asymmetry, growers’ decisions to certify, and the marketing claims of the certifying bodies themselves.