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.
Professions where there are more and more women
For a long time, wine had been considered a masculine stronghold. Women were kept away from wine and spirit warehouses because superstition claimed that they turn wine sour. Today they increasingly undermine this once popular belief and go on to join the ranks of the profession. In 2011, Christine Vernayle was even elected wine grower of 2011 by the French wine guide Bettane et Desseauve, walking off with five stars. It’s a real change in a traditionally male sector. Bacchus’ favourite beverage has become a feminine passion too. The French club “Femmes de vin” gathers about a hundred wine growers and tasters from all over France. Their goal? Sharing their great liking for wine. In Paris, “l’Ecole des femmes de Vin” was created in 2005 in order to promote the discovery of new wines and to provide benchmarks for tasting. In 2010, 43% of regular consumers were women, according to a study conducted by TNS-Sofres for wine broker 1855.
Across the Atlantic, the passion for wine exists without any hang-ups in “momswhoneedwine.com”, a website where mothers can share their latest wine discovery. With humour, they lay claim to this drink, which provides great comfort after a busy day with children. It’s also an opportunity for them to chat about many other subjects. Because wine encourages conviviality for 69.7% of women according to the Vinexpo survey in 2011 conducted on the Internet with 10,500 women from five countries (France, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Germany and the United States). The survey also shows that drinking wine is considered to be “an art of living” for 28.6% of French women, stylish for 25.5% and natural for 44.5%. Wine brings conviviality and has become a women’s way of life.
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