Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm a woman and I guess that matters.

I've returned from the wedding and the honeymoon. Alas, it seems I have to go back to work again, which is totally beyond my comprehension. I keep thinking, REALLYYY???

The new focus is now on my MW studies. I am in a study group that gives each other essay topics to ponder every week and now I've got to write one of those annoying ones.

"In wine, women are more influential than men. Discuss."

It's likely that this question was written by a woman on the MW exam panel, no? And while I initially winced when I saw it (like, are we STILL talking about this?), I've been amused while doing the research. It feels so like my Women Studies class at Vanderbilt circa 1995.

Women certainly are not more influential than men, in fact I think the women vs. men thing is totally a non-issue. But still I have to answer the question. So where do women exert the most influence? It's the grocery store consumer, and the value segments of the wine industry. Women still do the majority of grocery shopping and make most of the wine purchasing decisions in the family (I think the figure in the US is about 70%).

In doing a little research on marketing wine to women I came across 2 hysterical blogs and just wanted to pass them on to my friends to read. The first one on Little Black Dress (click on link below) is about 2 years old, but I still think it's still relevant and funny. Every time I see the wine Little Black Dress, Bitch, Beringer's White Lies or even Babcock's Big Fat Pink Shiraz I feel like I was just hit in the head with a blond joke. It makes me want to take a shower. Don't you think this goes way beyond Wine for Dummies? It's a whole new marketing category called Wine for Dumb Women.

I want to be clear, I am not angry at all about this, I find it absolutely hysterical. Check out the piece about marketing to women in The Onion. The picture speaks volumes, "San Diego women empower themselves by eating dinner unaccompanied by men." Now, I would never go far. My new husband won't let me.

Anyway, beyond that I have a ton of wines to write about since taking my unannounced hiatus, and none of them are made by Fetzer, Beringer or Babcock. And I promise never to write on a "diet wine".

Here's a continuation of the seven Champagne I promised to write about but just didn't deliver... (Just like woman, huh?)

Ployez-Jacquemart, Brut, NV. Absolutely delicious!! This was probably my favorite of the wines at the Champagne bar. The total production of all the bubbly at Ployez-Jacqumart is 6000 cases. Super small considering they have about 8 different wines.

It's a blend of mostly Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (60%) and Chardonnay (40%). It has a lot of depth and flavor (as it ages minimum of 3 years before it's released), but it's also got this incredible crisp acidity from the Chardonnay.

My adrenaline was so high the night of the wedding I was burning through this like a Humvee burns gasoline.

You can get this at 2 big retailers Wine House on Cotner and Wine Pavilion in the OC or you can pick it up on La Cienega at John and Pete's. Price ranges from $36.99 to $38.99. You absolutely cannot find Champagne that cheap anymore! So stock up.

Now if I only I had a little black dress to wear while I sipped it...


Ian Johnson said...

"In wine, women are more influential than men. Discuss."
First off, I have to say I would steer clear of a question like this. I am not a writer, so the thought of attempting an answer at this scares me. However, it is a fun question to ponder amongst friends.
What do they mean by wine? What part of the business of wine? Does this include all aspects or related to the marketing of the wine in the bottle. Difficult call. But it does require one to decide quickly and do a good job defending your assumptions. "Influential". Where is the influence? Exerted on packaging, style, price? I think as long as you take a solid stand and show point and counterpoint this essay can be answered well. I do think a little humour that comes with a lot of confidence is requested. I'd love to see some attempts at this essay.
So many congratulations to the both of you on your new marital bliss. And may it last your lifetimes.


Amy said...

Thanks Ian! As soon as I am done with the outline I will send it to you!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do you assume that the question applies to wine consumption only? My first thought was wine production. & what's your take on masculine versus feminine as wine descriptors (formerly known as adjectives)?

Amy said...

If it's wrong, I don't want to be right.

Well, actually, Mr. Wrong-Porker (ok to hyphenate?) The essay was ultimately outlined the following way...

First, I've taken influential to mean "to have an effect on market trends" whether that effect is on wine styles, purchasing, sales, distribution, etc. And I've taken "in wine" to mean any aspect of the wine business - PR, production, sales, retail, sommeliers, blah blah blah...

1. women are the leading targets in value consumer marketing (more influential than men)
2. leaders in anti-alcohol campaigns (More)
3. Under represented as critic / journalist (less influential)
4. specialty niches (i.e. women only wine competitions, women and wine websites / companies...) which ultimately detract from integration in my opinion, but who wants to be integrated anyway? I just want to stay home and make ginger people cookies for my husband.
5. As winemakers (no more or less influential than men...)

...And now I can add language to that... the question is though, are women more influential in wine language than men? Or are they equal?? Do female terms dominate wine language? And does it matter?? Do we say "feminine" more or less than "masculine"? Are "soft" "Lush" "Voluptuous" any more influential than "rustic" "hard" and "short finish"??

Anonymous said...

I had an '81 Sebastiani Zin last night that was definitely bearded, but clamless.