Day 2: A Great Debate

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?

Another First – The Internship

I’ve only been working on this post for 5 days. I thought maybe it was time to finally post it. Particularly as my blog home page is only showing links. Apparently I need to write more…or stop posting links.


This week – in addition to starting my regular classes – I started my internship with a wine merchant in Bordeaux. They have their cellar and their offices here in Bordeaux but they also have store fronts in Saint Tropez and in New York City (M this is your chance to do a little recon for a friend and score some great wine 😉 ).

Being me – I woke up super early (aka 5:30) on Thursday morning to make sure I was early for the bus. As I’ve said before I always find the buses to be a challenge. I’m never sure how long between ‘stops’ and when I’m supposed to push the button. As the office is located well outside of the city and it was my first time there – we (my friend A is working there with me as well) asked the bus driver to give us a shout out at the correct bus stop. We not only made it there in one piece – we were early. But its a good way to make a strong first impression. 🙂

Friday was more of the same – complete with early wake up call and the bus driver call out. What can I say – I’m nothing if not predicable. And next week will likely not be any different. The last thing I want to do is miss the bus and be late.

As for the work itself, I’ll be working on the digital marketing efforts in the US market. I’m looking forward to the challenge and learning more about the wine industry.  As much as I love Santa Cruz and California, I’m fairly certain it’s not a good cross section of the rest of the US or the wine industry as a whole. Despite being terrified, I do hope I will be able to make a difference and prove to myself that this was a good idea.