Women Wine Drinkers: What Do They Know?

I’ve thought about it. Winemakers have and most certainly wine marketers have: Do women perceive wine differently than men. Not "do women react differently to wine packaging than men?" Not, "Do women serve or use wine differently than men"?" Rather, when women smell and taste wine do they have a different reaction than men would to the same wine?

This appears to be the question that Women for Winesense, a national organization of women wine professionals, are attempting to answer with their "National Women’s Wine Competition".

The Competition will take place in March in Sonoma County. What sets this competition apart is that only women will judge the wines.

The organizers of this unique competition take no position on the question of whether women perceive wine differently than men. The only comment on the competition website that comes near the question is their curiosity about "what wines would win top honors in the eyes of women."

I’d have liked to see Women for Wine Sense take a more proactive step in trying to answer theWomenswinecomp
question of how women’s palates differ from men’s. It wouldn’t be too difficult. You’d simple have two groups of judges, one all male and one all female, all judging the same wines in the same manner. As it is, the best tool this competition will yield is a set of wines that are endorsed by women. That’s not a bad thing. As the Women for Winesense points out, women by far more wine than men do. Personally, I’d love to have a sticker to put on my wine bottle that says, "Judged Superior by Women".

We know that marketers out there have conducted focus groups that try to discover which packaging appeal particularly to women. I’d bet focus groups have also been conducted that attempt to determine which style of wine is preferred more by women. Yet, I’ve never seen any such results. And the more I think about it, I feel a wholly inadequate as a wine marketer because i don’t know the answer to this question. It’s fundamental, isn’t it…at least from a wine marketer’s perspective?

The competition is open to any wine. However there is a sub competition in side the competition that will judge only wines made by women. While another good idea, I’m not sure what information it will yield without there being another sub-competition of wines produced only by men.

Merely observing women and living in close proximity to women for most of my 43 years tells me that women perceive all sorts of things differently than men. They also seem to express themselves differently than men, which might suggest that women approach winemaking differently than men. However, I’ve yet to notice any particular palate difference between men and women. I’d be inclined to speculate on just what differences might exist, but it really would be useless as these guesses would only be a recitation of stereotypes applied to wine.

I’ll be curious to see what the Women For Wine Sense’s National Women’s Wine Competition comes up with. I’m just not sure I’ll know what it means.

2 Responses

  1. Sumiller - January 1, 2007

    In Spain women are drinking more wine than 10 years ago.

  2. Butch - November 30, 2007

    Most women usually prefer the sweeter,lighter wines. A white grenache, or a lighter pinot noir. The first choice is usually something like a pinot grigio or lighter chardonnay. This is my opinion, of course, but it is from my experience. It is rare to find a woman who likes the heavier, higher alcohol, wines. The Shiraz-Cabernet blends from Australia, the bigger Napa cabs, and the higher end zinfandels. Usually in the United States women like something a liitle bit lighter.

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