GoodGrape
Home Wine News Articles Shop for Wine Accessories About Links Downloads Contact

Good Grape Wine Company

Left side of the header
Right side of the header

On Gender Roles and being the Chief Wine Officer

I am Chief Wine Officer (CWO) in my house.  In this divisional responsibility role, I am the leader, manager and strategist wrapped up in one powerful omniscient wine-loving package and until recently I ruled with an iron fist, answering to no one.

Saturday afternoon visits to wine shops (manly places occupied by mostly men) occurred with unchecked regularity. Of course, I bought wine, a lot of wine; it was wine I didn’t need – it was wine I wanted.

Without question, in the wine buying hierarchy, wine shops are every bit the Saturday afternoon testosterone equal to an outdoor outfitter and, as mentioned, de rigueur for men, particularly when compared to the grocery store.

However, with my CWO responsibilities, the household balance of power is shifting, my division is in peril and I don’t think I am alone.  My controller and COO made a judgment call and my wine buying line of credit has been frozen. I’ve also been effectively demoted.  I’m moving out of the c-suite—relegated to mid-management as my powers have been stripped.

By way of background, my wife Lindsay and I like to joke that I am the CEO of our house, albeit a figurehead, an empty suit as it were, and she is COO, where all the work gets done and most of the power exists.  We split the role of CFO – I have responsibility for overall financial strategy and she has responsibility (as Controller) for managing our personal P&L statement (the checkbook). 

Lindsay takes her Controller responsibility seriously, with a hawk-like eye for detail on all household expenses, including spending from our increasingly smaller pool of discretionary income.  Naturally, wine comes into play out of that pool of discretionary income.  Like many people, my wine purchase activity has gone down.  Way down.  It’s now less of the powerful omniscience and more workaday wonder.  Instead of heading to the wine shop to spend money on a Saturday afternoon, I’ve been frequenting the grocery store wine aisle.  This is primarily at my wife’s behest, I might add; dollar savings, you see.  In fact, if my wife were wine aisle savvy enough she might simply takeover wine shopping and include it in the grocery store runs, benignly neutralizing my looseness with the ATM card on solo wine hunting trips.

image

In total, my wife, as COO and Controller, rules the roost and renders my CWO role reasonably impotent based on her prudence and sensibility for preservation, balancing out my bouts of fecklessness.

I’ve been thinking about this trading down not for what it is on the surface, but what it is as a trend just below the surface.

Without getting bogged down in the empirical correctness of any one perception of gender roles or biases, let’s assume that based on the denizens of eRobertParker, wine blogs and anecdotal analysis of shoppers at wine shops that men have a slight edge in percentages in buying fine wine relative to women.  Where men find geeky pleasure, a woman finds a relaxing beverage without much need for the artifice.  Let’s also assume that woman, on the other hand, buy the majority of their wine at the grocery store, less inclined to dive into the minutia of it all.

Now, of course, these are imperfect categorizations with many exceptions, but as a rule with the broad brush of percentages, I’m assuming that men geek out on wine and drive the upper-end of the price spectrum while woman take more comfort in wine as a household staple and buy more at the grocery store.

image

The reason I bring this up – the balance of power in operations in my household, the shutting off of the wine-buying spigot in my house and the perception of a division in wine buying based on gender roles is the simple fact that the fine wine and luxury portion of the wine industry should be scared shitless.

The fact is, statistically women buy the majority of wine – and there are a number of varying statistics.  Woman & Wine says 60% of wine is purchased by women.  In 2006, Adams Wine Handbook, as reported by the Wine Institute, noted that 57% of all wine is purchased by women. A news release today, based on research conducted by international research firm RNCOS, indicates:

According to our report, the main reason behind the growth of the US wine industry is the increase in the number of female wine drinkers. Women make up to 52% of the adult population, consuming 60% of the wine sold in the country and accounting for more than half of the country’s sales. Moreover, women comprise 55% of marginal wine drinkers in the US. The report highlights that wine quality, label design, bottle shape and the philosophy of winery are more important to female consumers as they tend to judge the entire product before going for its purchase.

According to our team of experts, a greater marketing awareness aimed at women consumers is emerging as a trend in the 21st century. This has been partly brought about by women themselves as they gain significant stature in the industry. 

image

That paragraph alone should give pause.  Consider – there is “trading down” in wine, an exit from the upper end of the price spectrum, women consume 60% of the wine sold in the country and 55% of casual wine drinkers in the U.S. are female.  If you add in the fact that women also lead household purchase activity, like mine, with significant influence on discretionary spending, then what the fine wine portion of the industry is seeing is not just an economic correction that is affecting the upper-end of the wine market, but also a seismic shift in wine buying patterns, potentially away from men who have driven the luxury portion of the wine market.

Perhaps it’s not a stretch to say that instead of proliferation of wine in the high-end, we might see a proliferation of second and new labels coming to the market—quality juice packaged to sell ... to women.

Or, put another way, germane to my situation, having been demoted from Chief Wine Officer, the fine wine portion of the wine world might see a significant rise in the power of the household COO.



share

Posted in, Wine: A Business Doing Pleasure. Permalink | Comments (25) |


Comments

On 09/02, Jim wrote:

funny post.

On 09/03, Dylan wrote:

It makes sense that men seem to geek out over wine more than women. Boys have their toys, even when they’re adults.

On 09/03, Thomas Pellechia wrote:

Jeff left out one thing: women don’t have to prove who’s got the biggest penis—that activity makes for a lot of price creep in the wine world…

Good analysis, Jeff.

On 09/03, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Funny comment Thomas… and so very true.

On 09/03, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Maybe it’s because I’m from a relatively younger generation, but I know more women than men who are interested in wine as more than a “relaxing beverage”; I thought this post implied throughout that women just aren’t deep enough to be really interested in wine, and I’m feeling a little insulted. As the former co-president of the Harvard Law wine club (the other president was also female), I can assure you that women, too, geek out about wine.  And in my household, my partner (male) buys the groceries, and I go to the wine shop.  More women buying wine does not mean that the industry must somehow “lower itself” to meet us.

On 09/03, Jeff wrote:

kathryn,

Thanks for the comment.  I was waiting for somebody to take exception.

My intention wasn’t to insult anybody.

I noted:

Now, of course, these are imperfect categorizations with many exceptions, but as a rule with the broad brush of percentages, Iím assuming that men geek out on wine and drive the upper-end of the price spectrum while woman take more comfort in wine as a household staple and buy more at the grocery store.

Trust me when I say that I’m the last guy to be a sexist.  And, while 36 years old, I hardly count as an old guy.  I grew up in a nuclear family where my Dad ruled the roost and my Mom had dinner on the table every single night of the week at 6:30 pm.  As an adult, I can confidently say that my wife wears the pants ...

So, no slight intended ...

Thanks for reading and please come back to the site!

Jeff
http://www.goodgrape.com

On 09/04, Franschhoek Wine wrote:

I think women are catching up big time boys. You better watch out.

On 11/05, Search Engine wrote:

Understanding between house members is really important to have a good and peaceful leaving..

On 12/10, Max International wrote:

“men have a slight edge in percentages in buying fine wine relative to women” It’s really undeniable that women are indeed gaining power in any fields they may take.

On 12/17, Handyman wrote:

Equality really exist between men and women now a days.

On 12/18, kitchens wrote:

I’ve always thought of wine as more of a lady’s drink. I see men more interested in drinking scotch or rum.

On 12/22, Used Bus Sales wrote:

Maybe itís because Iím from a relatively younger generation, but I know more women than men who are interested in wine as more than a ďrelaxing beverageĒ; I thought this post implied throughout that women just arenít deep enough to be really interested in wine, and Iím feeling a little insulted

On 12/23, Victorville Regional Center wrote:

Before investing in the Victorville regional center find out all the facts on this EB5 program.

On 12/26, Buses for Sale wrote:

We’re int he 21st century. Boundaries are being crossed and gender roles are being reinvented.

On 02/03, Xowii wrote:

It makes sense that men seem to geek out over wine more than women. Boys have their toys, even when theyíre adults xowii

On 02/22, Paul the Handyman wrote:

I thought this post implied throughout that women just arenít deep enough to be really interested in wine, and Iím feeling a little insulted

On 08/23, Stock Exchange Updates wrote:

before trading the real money, use an assimilated program that will allow you to learn without taking big risks. It is also wise to take courses in investments and learn as much as you can before you start playing with your life savings.

On 09/03, property maintenance wrote:

Women are generally more busy as they make more of an effort with social things and organsising social events…so havnt the time to geek out like me do…

On 01/18, plasterer stuart wrote:

I think you drink a lot of wine, if you have the time thats great.

On 01/18, oldham handyman wrote:

I think women do most civilised things better than men when they apply themselves.

On 03/05, Buses For Sale wrote:

Perhaps this was a struggle over gender that has a happy ending regardless of the outcome wink

On 09/12, objet publicitaire wrote:

We’re int he 21st century. Boundaries are being crossed and gender roles are being reinvented.

On 01/20, Plasterer Manchester wrote:

if it contains alcohol ill drink it lol

On 03/17, Kitchens wrote:

I find it difficult to judge between the different qualities of wine to be honest. Wine has become so cheap in the larger supermarkets too which makes you wonder if it’s just low quality or they can buy mass quantity at lower prices.

On 05/06, TN Pas Cher wrote:

cult to judge between the different qualities of wine to be honest. Wine has become so cheap in th


Archives


View More Archives