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When women are choosing a wine, it's not about ratings and scores (even when they are sipping some during the Super Bowl -- and you can be sure they were!). It's about context. Who will she be sharing it with? What will she be serving it with? The bottle she pops open during the big game won't be the same one she selects when she is dining with a client.

Despite the fact that nearly 64% of all wine consumers are women, most vintners don't effectively target their marketing at females.

Wine consumption in the Europe has been steadily on the rise for the last decade. It's a natural offshoot of other trends, like an increased interest in gourmet cooking and dining. And who is behind the majority of these sales? Women! They account for nearly 64% of all wine consumers, according to "Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine."

According to Leslie Sbrocco, author of "Wine for Women," women tend to be less focused than men on wine ratings, vintage charts and the acquisition process and more interested in personal recommendations and who will be sharing the wine with her. She's on the lookout for the perfect bottle to commemorate a milestone or compliment a special meal.

Creating an emotional moment

He is more likely looking for a label (and a price tag) to impress his guests. Bart O'Brien of O'Brien Family Vineyards says, "Women buy wine to be shared, to create an emotional moment. Men often buy wine to be hoarded. They take it back to their cave and save it until another collector comes over. ... It's about scores and history -– it's a little game of one-upmanship."

Women notice more details and appreciate more subtle nuances than men. Sometimes it's a learned response but in this instance nature trumps nurture. Females have more taste buds than males which makes them inherently "better tasters," according to Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator.


That attention to detail really plays out when she's looking out for someone else. Women focus on "We not me," and whether she's planning a family dinner or a special event, you can be sure she is going to go the extra mile to serve the perfect wine so that her guests are happy and fulfilled. Perhaps she'll seek out a Greek label to accompany a spanakopita appetizer or serve a California chardonnay that reminds her of a Napa outing. Marketers who recognize these tendencies and incorporate them into advertising and point-of-purchase materials are going to see results.


Female-oriented brands

Until recently wine was generally marketed as gender-neutral or more male-oriented than female-oriented. Over the past couple of years some female-oriented brands like Mad Housewife, Working Girl, Seduction and White Lie have entered the market. Women-specific products are generally not necessary and often backfire with both genders. They alienate men who don't want to be associated with anything "girly" and make women suspicious that the product will be more expensive (think dry cleaning and alterations) or dumbed down and of a lower quality (like flimsy tools with pink handles). White Lie was created to deliver what some women are looking for in a wine -- less alcohol and fewer calories than traditional wine. The others don't offer a tangible benefit and I suspect that true wine lovers will be offended by them.

While vintners may not need to create new products, they may want to think about their messages. I haven't seen many that are going to stop women, who are buying the majority of their product, in their tracks.

What kind of advertisement has female stopping power? Here's a hint: It's not just about the grapes.

The messages that are going to resonate with women are those that focus on people and place the product in context. Women are not going to respond to messages that boast you have the finest grapes or the most accomplished wine master. Ads that position "product as hero" won't get your message across. Forget about ratings and focus on experience. Remember that women are your best customers and that while men may be in search of a bottle with a high rating, women shop with the final experience in mind.


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