What’s Worse…Faking Wine Knowledge or Faking Orgasms?
I’m sure it will be said that this must mean the wine industry ought to do a better job of educating:
The Daily Mail in the UK reports on a survey that shows “Two Thirds of British Drinkers Admit They Know Nothing About Choosing Wine, So They Pretend Instead”.
The survey showing Brits are largely wine illiterate fakers was taken by the venerable Wine & Spirits Educational Trust, which, if you ask me, is kind of ironic. Be that as it may, it’s not surprising that so few people have much of an education in wine. Why would most folks need one? The vast majority of people in the world interact with wine in this way: “I’ll have a beer”. Still, the same survey seems to indicate that 2/3 of Brits (and probably not a much different percentage of Americans) actually FAKE having knowledge of wine. Keep in mind, this is considerably higher than the number of women who say they fake their orgasms.
According to the survey, the most common method of “faking” wine knowledge is by ordering the second least expensive wine on the menu. But that’s not interesting. What’s interesting to ponder is WHY anyone would feel a need to fake knowledge of wine? The Daily Mail suggests the reason why is found in part in this bit of information: “nearly one in six women said that they considered knowledge about wine to be an attractive trait in a potential partner.”
This proclivity to fake one’s level of wine knowledge does not strike me as a problem for the wine industry. The fact that so many folks are willing to try to fake wine knowledge probably bodes well for the wine trade. No, this issue of faking is more a sign of the intense desire among most people not to appear uninformed. But, who could possibly make a case that it is essential they need to be informed about wine and so essential that they will fake such knowledge? I don’t get it.
If the wine industry in the U.S. or in the UK decided they really did need to do something about this apparent fear of embarrassment connected to wine by their customers, then I would suggest a public relations and advertising campaign focused around six words: CAN – YOU – RECOMMEND – A – WINE – PLEASE ?
I say put the onus on the server to demonstrate or fake their wine knowledge, not the consumer or diner. By asking this simple question, what will come in return is either service (“Why yes, I can recommend a wine”), insincerity (Uh…yeah…um…sure, I can recommend this one here.”) or consolation (“I really don’t know much about wine, but I’ve had this one and liked it.”). Either way, the person asking the question wins because they get their wine and don’t have to fake a thing, nor look stupid or uninformed (hint, it’s the “please” that make this phrase work).
And here’s the real problem, if you try to fake your way through choosing a wine to impress someone, that someone is going to expect you to demonstrate your wine prowess again some time, particularly if it’s a date you are hoping to impress. And the results of those expectations are unlikely to be pretty.
Good piece, as usual Tom. I like the comparison of orgasm and wine knowledge faking. Only one point: if 16% of women find wine knowledge a turn on, that suggests 84% think otherwise. “Nearly 1 woman in 5 doesn’t find wine knowledge attractive in men” is rather different headline…
The reason consumers feel compelled to fake knowledge is the same reason that they don’t ask for server recommendations – it’s trust. If the wine industry does anything really good, it’s promoting the idea of expensive equals quality. Trust is not built in that concept – or in the idea that appreciating wine requires wine knowledge.
From The Drinks Business (May 1, 2014):
“[BRITISH] MEN FEAR RIDICULE OVER ORDERING WINE”
Synopsis: British men enjoy drinking wine at home but avoid ordering it in a pub in case their friends make fun of them, a recent survey has claimed.
A study of 1,500 adults, commissioned Côtes du Rhône wines, found that nine out of ten men would drink the odd bottle of wine in their own home, but just one in four would drink wine while on a night out with male friends for fear of being made fun of.
A spokesman for Côtes du Rhône wines, which commissioned the report, said: ”A large number of British blokes now say they enjoy a glass of wine when in their own home, but the majority still swap their Paris goblet for a pint pot, or order a spirit and mixer when out with friends in the pub, at a party or in a restaurant.
”Just a small number of men drink a glass of wine when down the pub. At parties the number increases slightly, and in a restaurant than figure rises to just over half.”
The study also found that a quarter of men serve wines in an attempt to impress their guests, while three in five men said they wouldn’t’ serve a wine they had at first enjoyed at a friend’s home.
In comparison, just one in five women said they would pick a wine to create a talking point, and were generally happier to serve an accessible wine to suit their guests.
[…] “What’s Worse: Faking Wine Knowledge or Faking Orgasms?” Tom Wark ponders an important question. […]
Great blog Tom. I especially liked the comment that faking wine knowledge probably bodes well for the wine trade. The less aware we drinkers are, the more swill that can be passed off on us.
I would still rather date a woman who fakes wine knowledge rather than orgasims.