European women as wine consumers: forget everything you thought you knew!

by Eve Resnick on June 30, 2008

in General

I spent a fascinating day in Geneva, Switzerland listening to the results of a European study on women as wine consumers and buyers in Europe organized by the International Associated Women in Wine (IAWIW). The countries represented were: Greece whose organization started the survey in 2005 in its country, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland and Germany.

The study was conducted mostly among women already drinking wine. The IAWIW created a committee in order to work on a more developed level including more countries and women based on the country demographics. The panel of each country was asked several types of questions, among which the most important were:

- As a buyer, what kind of wine do you buy? What are your criteria to choose a wine?
- As a consumer, how often do you drink wine? What kind of wine do you prefer?

The answers to those questions were amazing: in almost every country (with the exception of France), women buy a wine for its grape, then because of its region of origin and finally for pairing with food. Price comes rather down on the list.

Most women drink at least once a week, sometimes everyday for older women (60+). They like bodied wines, strong in alcohol and mostly red. They are not attracted to fruitier or lighter wines. And they despise wines specifically designed for women! They’re not specially fond of rosé, white or sparkling wines.

Interestingly enough, most women drinking wine have at least a high school degree, about 20% of them a college degree and they are socially in the upper middle-class with a monthly income of 1800 euros and + . They buy mostly on their own decision and don’t refer to a male opinion to make their choice.

This survey showed that marketers and wine makers have to review some of their prejudices on women as wine consumers. The surprise came mostly for the first criteria of choice: the grape. Indeed countries such as France, Spain, Portugal or Italy usually mention the origin of the wine, before the grape variety. This result showed clearly that women had a rather unconventional way of approaching the wine culture. I’m sure the more scientific European survey we’re working on will reveal even more surprising insights on the consumerial behavior of women in Europe. Those information could be also very interesting to import wines to the European markets.

We’ll be debating this topic and I’ll give more details on the survey in our weekly NewWineConsumer.com live radio show on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

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