The DWCC has provided me with a wealth of thought-provoking questions and more new blog material than I posted all summer (The majority of which was transcribed by hand in stolen moments at the conference, it will take me ages to get it all online. What can I say I may be a wine and tech nerd but somethings are still better done the old fashioned way.) But Day 2 I attended a seminar entitled ‘We Don’t Need More Women in Wine’ and it was the debate that resonated most. Maybe because I am a woman, maybe because I work in wine (an industry primarily dominated by men) and maybe purely because I don’t like gender stereotypes.
Gender marketing has always driven the adult beverage industry. Women drink sweet, fruity white wines or vodka. Men drink beer and dark spirits. Or at least that is what the industry seems to think. And in recent years there has been an even greater proliferation of blatantly obvious ‘gender specific’ beverages. But many of these products (most of which I personally think are nasty) play off stereotypes and make many people angry.
But ultimately the wine industry is falling behind the rest of the adult beverage industry in terms of market share. And I have to honestly say probably one of the worst gender marketing offenders. Clearly gender marketing is no longer working for the wine industry. Mostly thanks to us Millennials. Take me for example. Industry standards say I should be drinking sweeter white or sparkling wines. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good glass of bubbly but I actually don’t like sweeter white wines. I prefer to drink crisp, dry whites or bold, spicy reds or even a very savory, dry rose. Or a craft beer. Or even a great Gin & Tonic. And most of my friends are the same – but given the context of my profession of choice by perspective might be a bit skewed.
Nevertheless women working in the wine industry are becoming ever more common and it is time to change the strategy. As are women collectors or amateur wine enthusiasts. And most industry professionals recognize this, but the wine industry is mired in tradition. Even the ‘young’ California wine producers are unwilling to break from traditional patterns. I’ve seen and experienced this first hand.
The challenge laid down at the DWCC: find a way to use both soft and hard consumer data to change the conversation and develop a new wine marketing strategy. I know that I am 100% willing to try. Who is with me?