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Marketing strategies addressing underserved African American wine customers’ needs that also positively impact producers’ and retailers’ clientele was the impetus for this exploratory, qualitative paper. African Americans demonstrate a thirst to elevate their education about and be more involved in the wine industry as evidenced by the proliferation of African American wine-tasting groups designed to help educate and expose their membership to a variety of wines. Moreover, compared to the average adult, African-American wine drinkers are 241% more likely to have spent $20 or more on a bottle of store bought wine (Arbitron, 2005). Despite African Americans’ representation as one of the fastest growing ethnic minority segments in the U.S., wine industry strategies don't appear to connect with this market segment. Like Alice in Wonderland, we characterize this phenomenon by suggesting this market segment is ‘peering through the looking glass’.

Three focus groups were conducted to specify possible targeted media strategies as well as to identify attitudes and opinions that influence this segment's wine purchasing and consumption behaviors. Industry strategies were suggested that would appear to benefit producers, retailers, and this customer segment. The results of the research will be used to inform a quantitative instrument in order to generalize findings beyond the context of the exploratory setting.