Surprise in the world of wine: the best wine grower of 2011 is a woman.
Astonishing? Not really. Women are more and more interested in wine, becoming wine growers, wine stewards, buyers or just consumers. Let’s look at their importance in the sector.
Wine is not solely reserved for men
Even though a long tradition links men and wine (cf. “Women and wine”), women were often kept back from its consumption and production. Female drunkenness, considered to be vulgar, was banned. It was a privilege permitted only to prostitutes. Yet, in her book entitled “Les femmes et l’amour du vin,” the French researcher Segolène Lefèvre reveals that in antiquity, women from Babylon took part in libations and even queens could drink wine. A situation quite opposite to that of Athens, where women didn’t have the status of citizens and where their attendance during banquets would have been considered scandalous.
This is all changing today. Women have not only become consumers but a considerable economical target: 70% of wine purchases in France are made by women.
Many events have taken into account women’s investment in this domain. In 2007, Didier Martin created the “Féminalise” competition. Female professionals and oenologists get together once a year in Beaune to vote on the best wines. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the best quality wines but, above all, “it’s the guarantee to have a wine which has been liked by women and which will seduce men”. The international women and wines competition was also created in 2007. Competitors are male and female but, as with the Feminalise competition, the jury is exclusively formed by women. Two competitions in which the medals awarded guide women’s purchase decisions. They shed light on the role of women in the world of wine.
Studies show that women like champagne more than men. Sophisticated, light, bubbly and chic – the Marquise de Pompadour once said that champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking.
Ever since its beginnings, champagne has been closely linked to women. The Veuve Clicquot brand, a family champagne business that was taken over by the widow of the founder after his death, is symbolic of women’s interest in this wine whose double distillation gives it all its panache. As consumers, women have been very fond of champagne for a long time – and it’s for a good reason: the beverage was traditionally served at charity auction buffets. Very quickly, this association with charity, traditionally orchestrated by women from well-off families, gave champagne a bourgeois connotation which remains to this day – even if the actresses and other performers were, and still are, famous for their excessive consumption of the bubbly stuff!
Wine is today a woman’s game: over 70% of wine is purchased by women today!
Far away from traditional notions that wine is purely a man’s drink, after the women’s liberation movement in the late 60s, archaic notions of vulgarity associated with wine melted away and it became a quite popular drink for intellectuals and artists.
In 2009, half of French women (along with 92% of Americans and 2/3 of Germans) stated they drink wine at least once a week. Patterns of consumption have also changed, with less and less regular drinkers, but an increasing amount of occasional drinkers who want to drink less, but higher quality wines.
Surprisingly, women strongly prefer red wine, with 2/3 of French women and 79% of Americans stating a strong preferences for the more concentrated and aromatic red. Marketing to women in wine is not only about having pink labels, though: the French marketing agency I.D.Vin led a study and found the 5 key traits to effectively communicate to women in the wine sector.
To find out more, keep reading the blog.