Grape was cited by 70% of consumers against just 66% who said deals were the main buying cue.
The number putting region as a factor in buying decisions rose from 48% in 2011 to 52% this year.
More than 40% of wine drinkers said they take abv into account when buying wine – double the proportion recorded when Wine Intelligence last carried out its survey two years ago.
“There is potential for a mini-boom in wines that have more modest abvs, either naturally or by design,” said chief operating officer Richard Halstead.
Wine Intelligence also recorded increases in the number of consumers whose involvement with wine it rated as “high” and those who felt competent in their own wine knowledge.
“The increase in high-involvement consumers is good news for specialist independents and online retailers with upmarket or esoteric offers,” said Halstead. “These merchants have done well in recent times, admittedly within a market niche, and they’re broadening the outlook for wine lovers.”