The region of origin of a wine, not the brand or price, is the most important factor in the buying decision of Australian consumers, according to research published by the University of South Australia.

A study conducted by the University's wine marketing research group, and published in the Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Journal, found that of 300 Australian wine consumers interviewed, 29% said that the name of an established region was the most preferred attribute when purchasing wine.

The next most influential factor was price, with the most preferred price in the A$11.99 category, followed by A$16.99.

The study said that wine marketers would be especially interested to discover that established regions had the ability to command a higher price for their products than lesser-known areas.

"The premium price could be due to a high level of awareness of the regional name or to consumer loyalty towards wine products from a particular region," researcher Michelle Tustin said.

The study found that with consumers with low wine knowledge the preferred combination of criteria was an established region and a moderate price. The better the wine knowledge the more important the use of the established region became on its own.

Dr Larry Lockshin, another researcher on the study said: "It clearly emphasises the value of regional promotion to wineries - either in groups or individually - and the greater marketing benefits that established regions have."

He also said that investment in regional promotion was money well spent in developing an image when brands were not yet recognised.